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"Men there have been, ignorant of letters; without art, without elo- 
quence; who yet had the wisdom to devise and the courage to perform that 
which they lacked language to explain. Such men have worked the deliv- 
erance of nations and their own greatness. Their hearts are their books ; 
events are their tutors ; great actions are their eloquence." MACAULAY. 

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SELF-HELP ; with Illustrations of Character, Conduct, and Perseverance. A 
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France after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes: with a Visit to the 
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ited by SAMUEL S.MILKS. A \V.k ponraiL and ir.Uctrauoue. 12mo, Cloth, 
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I OFFER this book as a continuation of the memoirs 
of men of invention and industry published some 
years ago in the " Lives of Engineers," " Industrial 
Biography," and " Self-Help." 

The early chapters relate to the history of a very 
important branch of British industry that of ship- 
building. A later chapter, kindly prepared for me 
by Mr. Harland of Belfast, relates to the origin and 
progress of ship-building in Ireland. 

Many of the facts set forth in the " Life and Inven- 
tions of William Murdock" have already been pub- 
lished in my " Lives of Bolton and Watt ;" but these 
are now placed in a continuous narrative, and sup- 
plemented by other information, more particularly 
the correspondence between Watt and Murdock, 
communicated to toe by the' present representative 

of the family. Mr. Mufdodk, C:'R, of Gilwern, near 

/ . 

A 1 o 3 O < 

Abergavenny,' 1 

I have also endeavored to give as accurate an ac- 
count as pofisfBIe : bf^t'hV invention of the steam 
printing-press, and its application to the production 
of newspapers and books --an invention certainly 
of great importance to the spread of knowledge, 
science, and literature throughout the world. 


The chapter on the " Industry of Ireland "will 

.-peak for itself. It occurred to me, on passing 
through Ireland last year, that much remained to be 
said on that subject; and, looking to the increasing 
means of the country, and the well-known industry 
of its people, it seems reasonable to expect that, with 
peace, security, energy, and diligent labor of head 
and hand there is really a great future before Ire- 

The last chapter, on " Astronomers in Humble 
Life," consists for the most part of a series of auto- 
biographies. It may seem, at first sight, to have lit- 
tle to do with the leading object of the book ; but it 
serves to show what a number of active, earnest, and 
able men are comparatively hidden throughout soci- 
ety, ready to turn their hands and heads to the im- 
provement of their own characters, if not to the ad- 
vancement of the general community of which they 
form a part. 

In conclusion I say to the reader, as Quarles said 
in the preface to his " Emblems," " I wish thee as 
much pleasure in the reading as I had in the writ- 
ing." In fact, the- las^tjn-eo chapters W6*fe in some 
measure the cause fA file -book being published in its 
present form. 

LONDON, November, 1884-. \ .' 

. . 

r , ' <- 



I. PHINEAS PETT: Beginnings of English Ship-build- ^ 
ing 1 

II. FKANCIS PETTIT SMITH : Practical Introducer of the 

Screw Propeller' . S. 49 

III. JOHN HARRISON: Inventor of the Marine Chronom- 

eter 72 

IV. JOHN LOMBE: Introducer of the Silk Industry into 

England 105 

V. WILLIAM MURDOCK : His Life and Inventions . . . 119 

VI. FREDERICK KOENIG : Inventor of the Steam-printing . 

Machine 153 

VII. THE WALTERS OP "THE TIMES;" Invention of the 

Walter Press 180 

VIII. WILLIAM CLOWES : Book-printing by Steam . . . 205 

IX. CHARLES BIANCONI: A Lesson of Self-Help in Ire- 
land 217 

X. INDUSTRY IN IRELAND: Through Connaught and 

Ulster to Belfast 252 


gineer and Shipbuilder , . . . . 284 

New Chapter in the "Pursuit of Knowledge under 
Difficulties" 319 

INDEX. . 373 

CiTY 0! : NEW YORK, 





. . 

A speck in the Northern Ocenn, with a rocky coast, an ungenial 
climate, and a soil scarcely fruitful, this was the material patrimony 
which descended to the English race an inheritance that would 
have been little worth but for the inestimable moral gift that accom- 
panied it. Yes ; from Celts, Saxons, Danes, Normans from some 
or all of them have come down with English nationality a talisman 
that could command sunshine, and plenty, and empire, and fame. 
The 'go' which they transmitted to us the national vis this it is 
which made the old Angle-land a glorious heritage. Of this we have 
had a portion above our brethren good measure, running over. 
Through this our island-mother has stretched out her arms till they 
enriched the globe of the earth. . . . Britain, without her energy and 
enterprise, what would she be in Europe?" Blackivood's Edinburgh 
Magazine (1870). 

IN one of the few records of Sir Isaac Newton's life 
which he left for the benefit of others, the follow- 
ing comprehensive thought occurs : 

" It is certainly apparent that the inhabitants of this 
world are of a short date, seeing that all arts, as let- 
ters, ships, printing, the needle, etc., were discovered 
within the memory of history." 

If this were true in Newton's time, how much truer 
is it now. Most of the inventions which are so greatly 
influencing, as well as advancing, the civilization of the 


J* /tineas l\tt. 

world at tlic present time, have been discovered within 
tle last hundred or hundred and fifty years. \Ve do 
not ^:iy that man lias become so much wiser during 
that period; for, though he has grown in knowledge, 
the most fruitful of all things were said l>y "the heirs 
of all the ages" thousands of years ago. 

15 ut as regards physical science, the progress made 
during the last hundred years has been very great. 
Its most recent triumphs have been in connection with 
the discovery of electric power and electric light. 
Perhaps the most important invention, however, A\ 
that of the working steam-engine, made by Watt, only 
about a hundred years ago. The most recent applica- 
tion of this form of energy has been in the propulsion 
of ships, which has already produced so great an effect 
upon commerce, navigation, and the spread of popula- 
tion over the world. 

Equally important has been the influence of the rail- 
way, now the principal means of communication in all 
civilized countries. This invention has started into 
full life within our own time. The locomotive engine 


had for some years been employed in the haulage of 
coals ; but it was not until the opening of the Liver- 
pool and Manchester Railway, in 1830, that the impor- 
tance of the invention came to be acknowledged. The 
locomotive railway has since been everywhere adopted 
throughout Europe. In America, Canada, and the col- 
onies it has opened up the boundless resources of the 
soil, bringing the country nearer to the towns, and the 
towns to the country. It has enhanced the celerity of 
time, and imparted a new series of conditions to every 
rank of life. 

The importance of steam navigation has been still 
more recently ascertained. When it was first proposed, 
Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society, said: 
" It is a pretty plan, but there is just one point over- 

Steam Navigation. 

looked that the steam-engine requires a firm basis on 
which to work." Symington, the practical mechanic, 
put this theory to the test by his successful experi- 
ments, first on Dalswinton Lake, and then on the Forth 
and Clyde Canal. Fulton and Bell afterwards showed 
the power of steamboats in navigating the rivers of 
America and Britain. 

After various experiments, it was proposed to unite 
England and America by steam. Dr. Lardner, how- 
ever, delivered a lecture before the British Associa- 
tion, in 1838, "proving' 1 that steamers could never 
cross the Atlantic, because they could not carry suffi- 
cient coal to raise steam enough during the voyage. 
But this theory was also tested by experience in the 
same year, when the Sirius, of London, left Cork for 
New York, and made the passage in nineteen days. 
Four days after the departure of the Sirius the Great 
Western left Bristol for NCAV York, and made the 
passage in thirteen days five hours.* The problem 
was solved, and great ocean steamers have ever since 
passed in continuous streams between the shores of 
England and America. 

In an age of progress, one invention merely paves 
the way for another. The first steamers were im- 
pelled by means of paddle-wheels, but these are now 
almost entirely superseded by the screw. And this, 
too, is an invention almost of yesterday. It was only 

* This was not the first voyage of a steamer between England and 
America. The Savannah made the passage from New York to Liv- 
erpool as early as 1819 ; but steam was only used occasionally during 
the voyage. In 1825 the Enterprise, with engines by Maudslay, 
made the voyage from Falmouth to Calcutta in one hundred and thir- 
teen days ; and in 1828 the Cura$oa made the voyage between Hol- 
land and the Dutch West Indies. But, in all these cases, steam was 
used as an auxiliary, and not as the one essential means of propul- 
sion, as in the case of the Sirius and the Great Western, which were 
steam voyages only. 

Phincas Pitt. 

in 1840 that the Ar<-lit,, /// ,s- was fitted as a snv\v 
yacht. A iVw years later, in 1845, the Great J>r!t<iui, 
propelled by the screw, left Liverpool for New York, 
and made the voyage in fourteen days. The screw is 
now invariably adopted in all long ocean voyages. 

It is curious to look back and observe the small 
beginnings of maritime navigation. As regards this 
country, though its institutions are old, modern Eng- 
land is still young. As respects its mechanical and 
scientific achievements, it is the youngest of all coun- 
tries. Watt's steam-engine was the beginning of our 
manufacturing supremacy; and since its adoption in- 
ventions and discoveries in art and science, within the 
last hundred years, have succeeded each other with 
extraordinary rapidity. In 1814 there was only one 
steam-vessel in Scotland, while England possessed none 
at all. Now the British mercantile steamships number 
about five thousand, with about four millions of a^ore- 


gate tonnage.* 

In olden times this country possessed the materials 
for great things, as well as the men fitted to develop 
them into great results. But the nation was slow to 
awake and take advantage of its opportunities. There 
was no enterprise, no commerce, no "go" in the peo- 
ple. The roads were frightfully bad, and there was 
little communication between one part of the country 
and another. If anything important had to be done, 
we used to send for foreigners to come and teach us 


how to do it. We sent for them to drain our fens, to 
build our piers and harbors, and even to pump our wa- 
ter at London Bridge. Though a seafaring population 
lived round our coasts, we did not fish our own seas, 

* "In 1862 the steam-tonnage of the country was 537,000 tons; 
in 1872 it was 1,537,000 tons; and in 1882 it had reached 3,835,000 
tons." Mr. Chamberlain's Speech, House of Commons, ~LSth May, 


Beginnings of English Commerce. 5 

but left it to the industrious Dutchmen to catch the 
fish and supply our markets. It was not until the year 
1787 that the Yarmouth people began the deep-sea her- 
ring fishery; and yet these were the most enterprising 
among the English fishermen. 

English commerce also had very slender beginnings. 
At the commencement of the fifteenth century England 
was of very little account in the affairs of Europe. 
Indeed, the history of modern England is nearly coin- 
cident with the accession of the Tudors to the throne. 
With the exception of Calais and Dunkirk, her domin- 
ions on the Continent had been wrested from her by 
the French. The country at home had been made 
desolate by the Wars of the Roses. The population 
w T as very small, and had been kept down by war, pes- 
tilence, and famine.* The chief staple w T as wool, which 
was exported to Flanders in foreign ships, there to be 
manufactured into cloth. Nearly every article of im- 
portance was brought from abroad, and the little com- 
merce which existed was in the hands of foreigners. 
The seas were swept by privateers, little better than 
pirates, who plundered without scruple every vessel, 
whether friend or foe, which fell in their way. 

The British navy has risen from very low begin- 
nings. The English fleet had fallen from its high es- 
tate since the reign of Edward III., who won a battle 
from the French and Flemings in 1340, with two hun- 
dred and sixty ships ; but his vessels were all of mod- 
erate size, being boats, yachts, and caravels, of very 
small tonnage. According to the contemporary chron- 
icles, Weymouth, Fowey, Sandwich, and Bristol were 
then of nearly almost as much importance as London, f 

* The last visit of the plague was in 1G65. 

f Roll of Edward the Third's Fleet. Cotton's Library, British Mu- 

G ]>lhwtx r<n. 

which latter city only furnished twenty-five vessels, 
with six hundred and sixty-two mariners. 

The Royal Fleet began in the reign of Henry VII. 
Only six or seven vessels then belonged to the kinir, 
the largest being the Grace de Dieu, of comparatively 
small tonnage. The custom then was to hire ships 
from the Venetians, the Genoese, the Hanse towns, 
and other trading people; and as soon as the service 
for which the vessels so hired was performed they 
were dismissed. 

AVhen Henry VIII. ascended the throne, in 1509, he 
directed his attention to the state of the navy. Al- 
though the insular position of England was calculated 
to stimulate the art of shipbuilding more than in most 
continental countries, our best ships long continued to 
be built by foreigners. Henry invited from abroad 
especially from Italy, where the art of shipbuilding 
had made the greatest progress as many skilful art- 
ists and workmen as he could procure, either by the 
hope of gain or the high honors and distinguished 
countenance which he paid them. "By incorporat- 
ing," says Charnock, " these useful persons among his 
own subjects, he soon formed a corps sufficient to rival 
those states which had rendered themselves most dis- 
tinguished by their knowledge in this art ; so that the 
fame of Genoa and Venice, which had long excited the 
envy of the greater part of Europe, became suddenly 
transferred to the shores of Britain." * 

In fitting out his fleet, we find Henry disbursing 
large sums to foreigners for shipbuilding, for "har- 
ness," or armor, and for munitions of all sorts. The 
State Papers f particularize the amounts paid to Lewez 

* Charnock's "History of Marine Architecture," vol. ii., p. 80. 

t State Papers. Henry VIII. Nos. 3496, 3616, 4633. The prin- 
cipal kinds of ordnance at that time were these: The "Apostles," so 
called from the head of an apostle which they bore; "Curtows," or 

Reliance upon Foreigners. 

de la Fava for "harness;" to "William Gurre, "bre- 
gandy-maker;" and to Leonard Friscobald for " almayn 
ryvetts." Francis de Errona, a Spaniard, supplied the 
gunpowder. Among the foreign mechanics and arti- 
sans employed were Hans Popenruyter, gun-founder of 
Mechlin; Robert Sakfeld, Robert Skorer, Fortune de 
Catalenao:o, and John Cavelcant. On one occasion. 

O ' 

2797 195. 4^. was disbursed for guns and grind- 
stones. This sum must be multiplied by about four, to 
give the proper present value. Popenruyter seems to 
have been the great gun-founder of the age ; he supplied 
the principal guns and gun-stores for the English navy, 
and his name occurs in every ordnance account of the 
series, generally for sums of the largest amounts. 

Henry VIII. was the first to establish royal dock- 
yards first at Woolwich, then at Portsmouth, and, 
thirdly, at Deptford for the erection and repair of 
ships. Before then England had been principally de- 
pendent upon Dutchmen and Venetians, both for ships 
of war and merchantmen. The sovereign had neither 
naval arsenals nor dockyards, nor any regular estab- 
lishment of civil or naval affairs to provide ships of 
war. Sir Edward Howard, Lord High Admiral of 
England, at the accession of Henry VIIL, actually en- 
tered into a " contract ' : with that monarch to fight 
his enemies. This singular document is still preserved 
in the state-paper office. Even after the establishment 
of royal dockyards the sovereign as late as the reign 
of Elizabeth entered into formal contracts with ship- 
wrights for the repair and maintenance of ships, as 
w r ell as for additions to the fleet. 

The king, having made his first effort at establish- 
ing a royal navy, sent the fleet to sea against the ships 

"Courtaulx;" " Culverins " and "Serpents;" "Minions" and "Pot- 
guns ;" " Nurembergers," and "Bombards " or mortars. 

8 r/tt'ncas Fctt. 

of France. The ll<>j< nt was tin- ship royal, with Sir 
Thomas Knivet, master of the horse, and Sir John 
Crew, of Devonshire, as captains. The fleet amount- 
ed to twenty-five well-furnished ships. The French 
fleet were thirty-nine in number. They met in Brit- 
tany Bay, and had a fierce fight. The Regent grap- 
pled with a great carack of Brest ; the French, on the 
English boarding their ship, set fire to the gunpowder, 
and both ships were blown up, with all their men. The 
French fleet fled, and the English kept the seas. The 
king, hearing of the loss of the Regent, caused a great 
ship to be built, the like of which had never before 
been seen in England, and called it Harry Grace de 

This ship was constructed by foreign artisans, prin- 
cipally by Italians, and was launched in 1515. She 
was said to be of a thousand tons' portage the largest 
ship in England. The vessel was four-masted, with 
two round tops on each mast, except the shortest miz- 
zen. She had a high forecastle and poop, from which 
the crew could shoot down upon the deck or waist of 
another vessel. The object was to have a sort of cas- 
tle at each end of the ship. This style of ship-building 
was doubtless borrowed from the Venetians, then the 
greatest naval power in Europe. The length of the 
masts, the height of the ship above the water's edge, 
and the ornaments and decorations, were better adapt- 
ed for the stillness of the Adriatic and Mediterranean 
seas than for the boisterous ocean of the northern 
parts of Europe.* The story long prevailed that " the 
Great Harry swept a dozen flocks of sheep off the Isle 
of Man with her bob-stay." An American gentleman 
(X. B. Anderson, LL.D., Boston) informed the present 

* The sum of all costs of the Harry Grace de Dieu and three small 
galleys was 7708 5s. 3d. (S.P.O, No. 5228, Henry VIIL). 

Ship-building in England. 

writer that this saying is still proverbial among the 
United States sailors. 

The same features were reproduced in merchant- 
ships. Most of them were suited for defence, to pre- 
vent the attacks of pirates, which swarmed the seas 
round the coast at that time. Ship-building by the 
natives, in private shipyards, was in a miserable con- 
dition. Mr. Wlllet, in his memoir relative to the navy, 
observes: "It is said, and I believe with truth, that at 
this time (the middle of the sixteenth century) there 
was not a private builder between London Bridge and 
Gravesend who could lay down a ship in the mould 
left from a navy board's draught without applying to 
a tinker who lived in Knave's Acre."* 

Another ship of some note built at the instance of 
Henry VIII. was the Mary Jiose, of the portage of five 
hundred tons. We find her in the "pond at Dept- 
ford," in 1515. Seven years later, in the thirtieth year 
of Henry YIIL's reign, she was sent to sea, with five 
other English ships of war, to protect such commerce 
as then existed from the depredations of the French 
and Scotch pirates. The Mary Rose was sent, many 
years later (in 1544), with the English fleet to the 
coast of France, but returned with the rest of the fleet 
to Portsmouth without entering into any engagement. 
While laid at anchor, not far from the place where the 
Royal George afterwards went down, and the ship was 
under repair, her gun-ports being very low when she 
was laid over, "the shipp turned, the water entered, 
and sodainly she sanke." 

What was to be done? There were no English en- 
gineers or workmen who could raise the ship. Ac- 
cordingly, Henry VIII. sent to Venice for assistance, 
and when the men arrived, Pietro de Andreas was de- 

* Ohnrnoek, vol. ii. p. 47 (note). 

10 Phineas /V. 

spatched with the Venetian marines and carpenters 
to raise the Mary Rose. Sixty English mariners were 
appointed to attend upon them. The Venetians were 
then the skilled "heads," the English were only the 
"hands."' Nevertheless, they failed with all their ef- 
forts, and it was not until the year 1836 that Mr. Dean, 
the engineer, succeeded in raising not only the Royal 
George, but the Mary Rose, and cleared the roadstead 
at Portsmouth of the remains of the sunken ships. 

When Elizabeth ascended the throne, in 1558, the 
commerce and navigation of England were still of 
very small amount. The population of the kingdom 
amounted to only about five millions not much more 
than the population of London is now. The country 
had little commerce, and what it had was still mostly 
in the hands of foreigners. The Hanse towns had their 


large entrepot for merchandise in Cannon Street, on the 
site of the present Cannon Street Station. The wool 
was still sent abroad to Flanders to be fashioned into 
cloth, and even garden produce was principally im- 
ported from Holland. Dutch, Germans, Flemings, 
French, and Venetians continued to be our principal 
workmen. Our iron was mostly obtained from Spain 
and Germany. The best arms and armor came from 
France and Italy. Linen was imported from Flanders 
and Holland, though the best came from Rheims. 
Even the coarsest dowlas, or sailcloth, was imported 
from the Low Countries. 

The royal ships continued to be of very small bur- 
den, and the mercantile ships were still smaller. The 
queen, however, did what she could to improve the 
number and burden of our ships. "Foreigners," says 
Camden, "stiled her the restorer of naval glory and 
Queen of the Northern Seas." In imitation of the 
queen, opulent subjects built ships of force; and in 
course of time England no longer depended upon 

Commerce of Spain and the Netherlands. 11 

Hamburg, Dantzic, Geneva, and Venice for her fleet 
in time of war. 

Spain was then the most potent power in Europe, 
and the Netherlands, which formed part of the domin- 
ions of Spain, was the centre of commercial prosperity. 
Holland possessed above eight hundred good ships, of 
from two hundred to seven hundred tons' burden, and 
above six hundred busses, for fishing, of from one 
hundred to two hundred tons. Amsterdam and Ant- 
werp were in the heyday of their prosperity. Some- 
times five hundred great ships were to be seen lying 
together before Amsterdam ; * whereas England, at 
that time, had not four merchant ships of four hun- 
dred tons each ! Antwerp, however, was the most im- 
portant city in the Low Countries. It was no uncom- 
mon thing to see as many as two thousand five hundred 
ships in the Scheldt, laden with merchandise. Some- 
times five hundred ships would come and go from 
Antwerp in one day, bound to or returning from the 
distant parts of the world. The place was immensely 
rich, and was frequented by Spaniards, Germans, Danes, 
English, Italians, and Portuguese, the Spaniards being 
the most numerous. Camden, in his history of Queen 
Elizabeth, relates that our general trade with the Neth- 
erlands in 1564 amounted to twelve millions of ducats, 
five millions of which was for English cloth alone. 

The religious persecutions of Philip II. of Spain and 
of Charles IX. of France shortly supplied England with 
the population of which she stood in need active, in- 
dustrious, intelligent artisans. Philip set up the Inqui- 
sition in Flanders, and in a few years more than fifty 
thousand persons were deliberately murdered. The 
Duchess of Parma, writing to Philip II. in 1567, in- 
formed him that in a few days above one hundred 

* Macpherson, "Annals of Commerce," vol. ii. p. 126. 

IL> Phineas 

thousand men had already left the coimtry with tlicir 
inney and goods, and that more were following every 
day. They lied to Germany, to Holland, and, above 
all, to England, which they hailed as Asylum Chrixti. 
The emigrants settled in the decayed cities and towns 
of Canterbury, Norwich, Sandwich, Colchester, Maid- 
stone, Southampton, and many other places, where they 
carried on their manufactures of woollen, linen, and 
silk, and established many new branches of industry." 
Five years later, in 1572, the Massacre of St. Bar- 
tholomew took place in France, during which the Ro- 
man Catholic bishop Perefixe alleges that one hundred 
thousand persons were put to death because of their 
religious opinions. All this persecution, carried on so 
near the English shores, rapidly increased the number 
of foreign fugitives into England, which was followed 
by the rapid advancement of the industrial arts in this 


The asylum which Queen Elizabeth gave to the per- 
secuted foreigners brought down upon her the hatred 
of Philip II. and Charles IX. When they found that 
they could not prevent her furnishing them with an asy- 
lum, they proceeded to compass her death. She was 
excommunicated by the pope, and Vitelli was hired 
to assassinate her. Philip also proceeded to prepare 
the Sacred Armada for the subjugation of the English 
nation, and he was master of the most powerful army 
and navy in the world. 

Modern England w r as then in the throes of her birth. 


She had not yet reached the vigor of her youth, though 
she was full of life and energy. She was about to be- 
come the England of free thought, commerce, and 
manufactures; to plough the ocean with her navies, 

* "The Huguenots: their Settlements, Churches, and Industries, 
in England and Ireland," ch. iv. 

The Great Seamen of England. 13 

and to plant her colonies over the earth. Up to the 
accession of Elizabeth she had done little, but now 
she was about to do much. It was a period of sudden 
emancipation of thought, and of immense fertility and 
originality. The poets and prose writers of the time 
united the freshness of youth with the vigor of man- 
hood. Among these were Spenser, Shakespeare, Sir 
Philip Sidney, the Fletchers, Marlowe, and Ben Jon- 
son. Amono* the statesmen of Elizabeth were Burleiffh. 

<j \TJ j 

Leicester, Walsingham, Howard, and Sir Nicholas Ba- 
con. But perhaps greatest of all were the sailors, who, 
as Clarendon said, "were a nation by themselves;" 
and their leaders Drake, Frobisher, Cavendish, Haw- 
kins, Howard, Raleigh, Davis, and many more distin- 
guished seamen. 

They were the representative men of their time, the 
creation, in a great measure, of the national spirit. 
They were the offspring of long generations of seamen 
and lovers of tha sea. They could not have been great 
but for the nation which gave them birth, and imbued 
them with their worth and spirit. The great sailors, 
for instance, could not have originated in a nation of 
mere landsmen. They simply took the lead in a coun- 
try whose coasts were fringed with sailors. Their 
greatness was but the result of an excellence in sea- 
manship which prevailed widely around them. 

The age of English maritime adventure only began 
in the reign of Elizabeth. England had then no colo- 
nies, no foreign possessions whatever. The first of her 
extensive colonial possessions was established in this 
reign. " Ships, colonies, and commerce ' ; ' began to be 
the national motto not that colonies make ships and 
commerce, but that ships and commerce make colonies. 
Yet what cockle-shells of ships our pioneer navigators 
first sailed in! 

Although John Cabot or Gabota, of Bristol, origi- 

U Phineas Pett. 

nallv a citi/.en <>f N'micc. lia<l discovered the continent 

I' N<>rth America in 1490, in the reign of Ilrnry VII., 
he made no settlement there, but returned to Bristol 
with his four small >hips. Columbus did not see the 
continent of America until two years later, in 140s, 
his first discoveries being the islands of the West In- 

It was not until the year 1553 that an attempt was 
made to discover a northwest passage to Cathaya or 
China. Sir Hugh Willoughby was put in command 
of the expedition, which consisted of three ships the 
JBona Esperanm, the Bona "\\ntnra (Captain Chan- 
cellor), and the Bona Confidentia (Captain Durforth) 
most probably ships built by Venetians. Sir Hugh 
reached seventy-two degrees of north latitude, and was 
compelled, by the buffeting of the winds, to take ref- 
uge with Captain Durforth's vessel at Arcina Keca, in 
Russian Lapland, where the two captains and the crews 
of these ships, seventy in number, were frozen to death. 
In the following year some Russian fishermen found 
Sir John Willoughby sitting dead in his cabin, with 
his diary and other papers beside him. 

Captain Chancellor was more fortunate. He reached 
Archangel in the White Sea, where no ship had ever 
been seen before. He pointed out to the English the 
way to the whale fishery at Spitzbergen, and opened 
up a trade with the northern parts of Russia. Two 
years later, in 1556, Stephen Burroughs sailed with 
one small ship, which entered the Kara Sea ; but he 
was compelled by frost and ice to return to England. 
The strait which he entered is still called "Burrough 

It was not, however, until the reign of Elizabeth that 
great maritime adventures began to be made. Xavi- 
gators were not so venturous as they afterwards be- 
came. Without proper methods of navigation, they 

The Great Namgators. 15 

were apt to be carried away to the south, across an 
ocean without limit. In 1565 a young captain, Martin 
Frobisher, came into notice. At the age of twenty- 
five he captured in the South Seas the Flying /Spirit, 
a Spanish ship laden with a rich cargo of cochineal. 
Four years later, in 1569, he made his first attempt to 
discover the northwest passage to the Indies, being 
assisted by Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick. The 
ships in which they set out were three in number: the 
Gabriel, of from fifteen to twenty tons; the Michael, of 
from twenty to twenty-five tons, or half the size of a 
modern fishing-boat ; and a pinnace, of from seven to 
ten tons ! The aggregate of the crews of the three 
ships was only thirty-five, men and boys. Think of 
the daring of these early navigators in attempting to 
pass by the North Pole to Cathay through snow and 
storm and ice in such miserable little cockboats! The 
pinnace was lost; the Michael, under Owen Griffith, a 
Welshman, deserted; and Martin Frobisher, in the Ga- 
briel, went alone into the northwestern sea ! 

He entered the great bay, since called Hudson's Bay, 
by Frobisher's Strait. He returned to England with- 
out making the discovery of the passage, which long 
remained the problem of arctic voyagers. Yet ten 
years later, in 1577, he made another voyage, and 
though he made his second attempt with one of Queen 
Elizabeth's own ships and two barks, with one hundred 
and forty persons in all, he was as unsuccessful as be- 
fore. He brought home some supposed gold ore, and, 
on the strength of the stones containing gold, a third 
expedition went out in the following year. After los- 
ing one of the ships, consuming the provisions, and 
suffering greatly from ice and storms, the fleet returned 
home one by one. The supposed gold ore proved to 
be only glittering sand. 

While Frobisher was seeking El-Dorado in the north, 


FraneN Mrake was finding it in tlie south. He \va- a 
sailor, every inch of him. "Pains, with patience in 
liis youth," says Fuller, "knit the joints of his soul, 
and made them more solid and compact.'' At an early 
age, when carrying on a coasting trade, his imagination 


was inflamed by the exploits of his protector, Hawkins, 
in the New World, and he joined him in his last un- 
fortunate adventure on the Spanish Main. He was 
not, however, discouraged by his first misfortune, but, 

having: assembled about him a number of seamen who 


believed in him, he made other adventures to the West 
Indies, and learned the navigation of that part of the 
ocean. In 1570 he obtained a regular commission from 
Queen Elizabeth, though he sailed his own ships, and 
made his own ventures. Every Englishman who had 
the means was at liberty to fit out his own ships ; and, 
with tolerable vouchers, he was able to procure a com- 
mission from the court, and proceed to sea at his own 
risk and cost. Thus the naval enterprise and pio- 
neering of new countries under Elizabeth was almost 
altogether a matter of private enterprise and adven- 

In 1572 the butchery of the Huguenots took place 
at Paris and throughout France ; while at the same 
time the murderous power of Philip II. reigned su- 
preme in the Netherlands. The sailors knew what 
they had to expect from the Spanish king in the event 
of his obtaining his threatened revenge upon England; 
and under their chosen chiefs they proceeded to make 
war upon him. In the year of the Massacre of St. 
Bartholomew, Drake set sail for the Spanish Main in 
the Pasha, of seventy tons, accompanied by the Swan, 
of twenty-five tons; the united crews of the vessels 


amounting to seventy-three men and boys. With this 
insignificant force, Drake made great havoc among 
the Spanish shipping at Nombre de Dios. He partially 

Francis Drakes Naval Enterprises. 17 

crossed the Isthmus of Darien, and obtained his first 
sight of the great Pacific Ocean. He returned to 
England in August, 1573, with his frail barks crammed 
with treasure. 

A few years later, in 1577, he made his ever- 
memorable expedition. Charnock says it was " an 
attempt in its nature so bold and unprecedented, that 
we should scarcely know whether to applaud it as a 
brave, or condemn it as a rash one, but for its success." 
The squadron with which he sailed for South America 
consisted of five vessels, the largest of which, the Peli- 
can, was only of one hundred tons' burden; the next, 
the Elizabeth, was of eighty ; the third, the Swan, a fly- 
boat, was of fifty; the Mary gold bark, of thirty; and 
the Christopher, a pinnace, of fifteen tons. The united 
crews of these vessels amounted to only one hundred 
and sixty-four, gentlemen and sailors. 

The gentlemen went with Drake " to learn the art 
of navigation." After various adventures along the 
South American coast, the little fleet passed through 
the Straits of Magellan, and entered the Pacific Ocean. 
Drake took an immense amount of booty from the 
Spanish towns along the coast, and captured the royal 
galleon, the Cacafuego, laden with treasure. After 
trying in vain to discover a passage home by the 
northeastern ocean, through what is now known as 
Behring Straits, he took shelter in Port San Francisco, 
which he took possession of in the name of the Queen 
of England, and called New Albion. He eventually 
crossed the Pacific for the Moluccas and Java, from 
which he sailed right across the Indian Ocean, and by 
the Cape of Good Hope to England, thus making the 
circumnavigation of the world. He was absent with 
his little fleet for about two years and ten months. 

Not less extraordinary was the voyage of Captain 
Cavendish, who made the circumnavigation of the 


H'lnhe at liis own expense. He set mil !V<in Plymouth 
in tliree .-mall vessels mi tlie L' Nt of July, 1550. One 

vessel was of one hundred ami twenty tons, the second 

of sixty tnns, and the third of forty tons not much 
hiiwr than a Thames yacht. The united crews, of 
officers, men, and boys, did not exceed one hundred 
and twenty-three! Cavendish sailed along the South 
American continent, and made through the Straits of 
Magellan, reaching; the Pacific Ocean. lie burned and 

o o 

plundered the Spanish settlements along the coast, 
captured some Spanish ships, and took by boarding 
the galleon St. Anna, with 122,000 Spanish dollars on 
board. He then sailed across the Pacific to the La- 
drone Islands, and returned home through the Straits 
of Java and the Indian Archipelago by the Cape of 
Good Hope, and reached England after an absence of 
two years and a month. 

The sacred and invincible Armada was now ready. 
Philip II. was determined to put down those English 
adventurers who had swept the waters of Spain and 
plundered his galleons on the high seas. The English 
sailors knew that the sword of Philip was forged in 
the gold-mines of South America, and that the only 
way to defend their country was to intercept the plun- 
der on its vova^e home to Spain. But the sailors and 

*/ O 

their captains Drake, Hawkins, Frobisher, Howard, 
Grenville, Raleigh, and the rest could not altogether 
interrupt the enterprise of the King of Spain. The 
Armada sailed, and came in sight of the English coast 
on the 20th of Julv. 1588. 

V ' 

The struggle was of an extraordinary character. 
On the one side was the most powerful naval arma- 
ment that had ever put to sea. It consisted of six 
squadrons of sixty fine large ships, the smallest being 
of seven hundred tons. Besides these were four gi- 
gantic galleasses, each carrying fifty guns, four large 

Contest with the Sacred Armada. . 19 

armed galleys, fifty - six armed merchant ships, and 
twenty caravels in all, one hundred and forty-nine 
vessels. On board were eight thousand sailors, twenty 
thousand soldiers, and a large number of galley-slaves. 
The ships carried provisions enough for six months' 
consumption, and the supply of ammunition was enor- 

On the other side was the small English^fleet under 
Hawkins and Drake. The royal ships were only thir- 
teen in number ; the rest were contributed by private 
enterprise, there being only thirty-eight vessels of all 
sorts and sizes, including cutters and pinnaces, carry- 
ing the queen's flag. The principal armed merchant 
ships were provided by London, Southampton, Bristol, 
and the other southern ports. Drake was followed by 
some privateers; Hawkins had four or five ships, and 
Howard of Effingham two. The fleet was, however, 
very badly found in provisions and ammunition. 
There was only a week's provisions on board, and 
scarcely enough ammunition for one day's hard fight- 
ing. But the ships, small though they were, were in 
good condition. They could sail, whether in pursuit or 
in flight, for the men who navigated them were thor- 
ough sailors. 


The success of the defence was due to tact, courage, 
and seamanship. At the first contact of the fleets, the 
Spanish towering galleons wished to close, to grapple 
with their contemptuous enemies, and crush them to 
death. " Come on !" said Medina Sidonia. Lord 
Howard came on with the Ark and three other ships, 
and fired with immense rapidity into the great floating 
castles. The San Mateo luffed, and wanted them to 
board. " No ! not yet !" The English tacked, re- 
turned, fired again, riddled the Spaniards, and shot 
away in the eye of the wind. To the astonishment 
of the Spanish admiral, the English ships approached 

him or left him just as they chose. "The enemy jnir- 
suc me," wrote the Spanish admiral to the Prince of 
I 'anna; "they tire upon me most clays from morning 
till nightfall, but they will not close and grapple, 
though I have given them every opportunity." The 
('<i/>/t<t/i<t., a galleon of twelve hundre.d tons, dropped 
behind, struck her flag to Drake, and increased the 
store of the English fleet by some tons of gunpowder. 
Another Spanish ship surrendered, and another store 
of powder and shot was rescued for the destruction of 
the Armada. And so it happened throughout, until 
the Spanish fleet was driven to wreck and ruin, and the 
remaining ships were scattered by the tempests of the 
north. After all, Philip proved to be, what the sail- 
ors called him, only "a Colossus stuffed with clouts." 

The English sailors followed up their advantage; 
they went on " singeing the King of Spain's beard." 
Private adventurers fitted up a fleet under the com- 
mand of Drake, and invaded the mainland of Spain. 
They took the lower part of the town of Corunna; 
sailed to the Tagus, and captured a fleet of ships laden 
with wheat and warlike stores for a new armada. 
They next sacked Vigo, and returned to England with 
one hundred and fifty pieces of cannon and a rich 
booty. The Earl of Cumberland sailed to the West 
Indies on a private adventure, and captured more 
Spanish prizes. In 1590, ten English merchantmen, re- 
turning from the Levant, attacked twelve Spanish gal- 
leons, and, after six hours' contest, put them to flight 
with great loss. In the following year three mer- 
chant ships set sail for the East Indies, and in the 
course of their voyage took several Portuguese ves- 

A powerful Spanish fleet still kept the seas, and in 
1591 they conquered the noble Sir Richard Grenville 
at the Azores fifteen great Spanish galleons against 

Naval Adventures against Spain. 21 

one queen's ship, the Revenge. In 1593 two of the 
queen's ships, accompanied by a number of merchant 
ships, sailed for the West Indies, under Burroughs, 
Frobisher, and Cross, and among their other captures 
they took the greatest of all the East India caracks, a 
vessel of sixteen hundred tons, seven hundred men, 
and thirty-six brass cannon, laden with a magnificent 
cargo. She was taken to Dartmouth, and surprised all 
who saw her, being the largest ship that had ever been 
seen in England. In 1594 Captain James Lancaster 
set sail with three ships upon a voyage of adventure. 
He was joined by some Dutch and Spanish vessels. 
The result was, that they captured thirty-nine of the 
Spanish ships. Sir Amias Preston, Sir John Hawkins, 
and Sir Francis Drake also continued their action upon 
the seas. Lord Admiral Howard and the Earl of Essex 
made their famous attack upon Cadiz for the purpose 
of destroying the new armada ; they demolished all 
the forts, sank eleven of the King of Spain's best ships, 
forty-four merchant ships, and brought home much 

Nor was maritime discovery neglected. The plant- 
ing of new colonies began, for the English people had 
already begun to swarm. In 1578, Sir Humphrey Gil- 
bert planted Newfoundland for the queen. In 1584, 
Sir Walter Raleigh planted the first settlement in 
Virginia. Nor was the northwest passage neglected; 
for in 1580, Captain Pett (a name famous on the 
Thames) set sail from Harwich in the George, accom- 
panied by Captain Jackman in the William. They 
reached the ice in the North Sea, but were compelled 
to return without effecting their purpose. Will it be 
believed that the George was only of forty tons, and 
that its crew consisted of nine men and a boy; and 
that the William was of twenty tons, with five men 
and a boy? The w r onder is that these little vessels 

P/tincaa P<1t. 

should resist the terrible iee-iields, and return to Eng- 
land again with their hardy crews. 

Then, in 1585, another of our adventurous sailors, 
John Davis, of Sandridge on the Dart, set sail with 
two barks, the Suns/tine and the Moonsldnc, of fifty 
and thirty-five tons respectively, and discovered in the 
far northwest the strait which now bears his name. 
He was driven back by the ice; but, undeterred by 
his failure, he set out on a second and then on a third 
voyage of discovery in the two following years. But 
he never succeeded in discovering the northwest pas- 
sage. It all reads like a mystery these repeated, de- 
termined, and energetic attempts to discover a new 
way of reaching the fabled region of Cathay. 

In these early times the Dutch were not unworthy 
rivals of the English. After they had succeeded in 
throwing off the Spanish yoke and achieved their in- 
dependence, they became one of the most formidable 
of maritime powers. In the course of another century 
Holland possessed more colonies, and had a larger 
share of the carrying trade of the world, than Britain. 
It was natural, therefore, that the Dutch republic should 
take an interest in the northwest passage ; and the 
Dutch sailors, by their enterprise and bravery, were 
among the first to point the way to arctic discovery. 
Barents and Behring, above all others, proved the 
courage and determination of their heroic ancestors. 


The romance of the East India Company begins with 
an advertisement in the London Gazette of 1599, tow- 
ards the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. As 

O " 

with all other enterprises of the nation, it was estab- 
lished by private means. The company was started 
with a capital of 72,000 in 50 shares. The adven- 
turers bought four vessels of an average burden of 
three hundred and fifty tons. These were stocked with 
provisions, " Norwich stuffs," and other merchandise. 

Beginning of the East India Company. 23 

The tiny fleet sailed from Billingsgate on the 13th 
February, 1601. It went by the Cape of Good Hope 
to the East Indies, under the command of Captain 
James Lancaster. It took no less than sixteen months 
to reach the Indian Archipelago. The little fleet 
reached Acheen in June, 1602. The king of the terri- 
tory received the visitors with courtesy, and exchanged 
spices with them freely. The four vessels sailed home- 
ward, taking possession of the island of St. Helena on 
their way back; having been absent exactly thirty-one 
months. The profits of the first voyage proved to be 
about one hundred per cent. Such was the origin of 
the great East India Company, now expanded into an 
empire, and containing about two hundred millions of 

To return to the shipping and the mercantile marine 
of the time of Queen Elizabeth. The number of royal 
ships was only thirteen, the rest of the navy consisting 
of merchant ships, which were hired, and discharged 
when their purpose was served.* According to Wheel- 
er, at the accession of the queen, there were not more 
than four ships belonging to the river Thames, except- 
ing those of the royal navy, which were over one hun- 
dred and twenty tons in burden ;f and after forty years, 
the whole of the merchant ships of England over one 
hundred tons amounted to one hundred and thirty- 
five, only a few of these being of five hundred tons. 
In 1588 the number had increased to one hundred and 
fifty, " of about one hundred and fifty tons one with 
another, employed in trading voyages to all parts and 
countries." The principal shipping which frequented 
the English ports still continued to be foreign Italian, 
Flemish, and German. 

* Macpherson, "Annals of Commerce," vol. ii. p. 156. 
t Ibid. vol. ii. p. 85. 

Phincas Pctt. 

Liverpool, now ]>o c-^ing tin- largest shipping ton- 
nage ii> tin- world, had not yet conic into existence. It 
was little hotter than a iishing village. The people of 
the place presented a petition to the queen, praying 
her to remit a subsidy which had been imposed upon 
them, and speaking of their native place as " her 
majesty's poor decayed town of Liverpool." In 1565, 
seven years after Queen Elizabeth began to reign, the 
number of vessels belonging to Liverpool was only 
twelve. The largest was of forty tons' burden, with 
twelve men, and the smallest was a boat of six tons, 
with three men.* 

James I., on his accession to the throne of England 
in 1603, called in all the ships of war, as well as the 
numerous privateers which had been employed during 
the previous reign in making war against the commerce 
of Spain, and declared himself to be at peace with all 
the world. James was as peaceful as a Quaker. He 
was not a fighting king, and, partly on this account, 
he was not popular. He encouraged manufactures in 
wool, silk, and tapestry. He gave every encourage- 
ment to the mercantile and colonizing adventurers to 
plant and improve the rising settlements of Virginia, 
New England, and Newfoundland. He also promoted 
the trade to the East Indies. Attempts continued to 
be made, by Hudson, Poole, Button, Hall, Baffin, and 
other courageous seamen, to discover the northwest 
passage, but always without effect. 

The shores of England being still much infested by 

* Picton's "Selections from the Municipal Archives and Records 
of Liverpool," p. 90. About a hundred years later, in 1757, the gross 
customs receipts of Liverpool had increased to 198,946 ; while those 
of Bristol were as much as 351,211. In 1883 the amount of ton- 
nage of Liverpool, inwards and outwards, was 8,527,531 tons, and the 
total dock revenue for the year was 1,273,752! 

King James and the Navy. 25 

Algerine and other pirates,* King James found it 
necessary to maintain the ships of war in order to pro- 
tect navigation and commerce. He nearly doubled the 
ships of the royal navy, and increased the number from 
thirteen to twenty-four. Their size, however, contin- 
ued small, both royal and merchant ships. Sir William 
Monson says that at the accession of James I. there 
were not above four merchant ships in England of 
four hundred tons' burden. f The East Indian mer- 
chants were the first to increase the size. In 1609, en- 
couraged by their charter, they built the Trade's In- 
crease, of eleven hundred tons' burden, the largest mer- 
chant ship that had ever been built in England. As it 
was necessary that the crew of the ship should be able 
to beat off the pirates, she was fully armed. The addi- 
tional ships of war were also of heavier burden. In 

* There were not only Algerine but English pirates scouring the 
seas. Keutzner, the German, who wrote in Elizabeth's reign, said, 
" The English are good sailors and famous pirates (stint boni nautce 
et insignis pyratce)." Koberts, in his "Social History of the South- 
ern Counties " (p. 93), observes, "Elizabeth had employed many Eng- 
lish as privateers against the Spaniard. After the war, many were 
loath to lead an inactive life. They had their commissions revoked, 
and were proclaimed pirates. The public looked upon them as gal- 
lant fellows ; the merchants gave them underhand support; and even 
the authorities in maritime towns connived at the sale of their plun- 
der. In spite of proclamations, during the first five years after the 
accession of James I., there were continual complaints. This lawless 
way of life even became popular. Many Englishmen furnished them- 
selves with good ships and scoured the seas, but little careful whom 
they might plunder." It was found very difficult to put down piracy. 
According to Oliver's "History of the City of Exeter," not less than 
"fifteen sail of Turks" held the English Channel, snapping up mer- 
chantmen, in the middle of the seventeenth century! The harbors in 
the southwest were infested by Moslem pirates, who attacked and plun- 
dered the ships, and carried their crews into captivity. The loss, 
even to an inland port like Exeter, in ships, money, and men, was 

f "Naval Tracts," p. 294. 


26 rhincas 1\U. 

tlu- same year the jfrince, of fourteen hundred tons" 

burden, was launched; she carried sixty-four cannon, 
and was superior to any ship of the kind hitherto seen 
in England. 

And now we arrive at the subject of this memoir. 
The Petts were the principal ship-builders of the time. 
They had long been known upon the Thames, and had 
held posts in the royal dockyards since the reign of 
Henry VIII. They were gallant sailors, too; one of 
them, as already mentioned, having made an adven- 
turous voyage to the Arctic Ocean in his little bark, 
the George, of only forty tons' burden. Phineas Pett 
was the first of the great ship-builders. His father, 
Peter Pett, was one of the queen's master shipwrights. 
Besides being a ship-builder, he was also a poet, being 
the author of a poetical piece entitled, " Time's Jour- 
ney to Seek his Daughter Truth,"* by no means a des- 
picable performance. Indeed, poetry is by no means 
incompatible with ship-building the late chief con- 
structor of the navy being, perhaps, as proud of his 
poetry as of his ships. Pett's poem was dedicated to 
the lord high admiral, Howard, Earl of Nottingham, 
and may possibly have been the reason of the singular 
interest which he afterwards took in Phineas Pett, the 
poet shipwright's son. 

Phineas Pett was the second son of his father. He 
was born at Deptford, or " Deptford Strond," as the 
place used to be called, on the 1st of November, 1570. 
At nine years old he was sent to the free-school at 
Rochester, and remained there for four years. Not 
profiting much by his education there, his father re- 
moved him to a private school at Greenwich, kept by 
a Mr. Adams. Here he made so much progress that, 
in three years' time, he was ready for Cambridge. He 

* This poem is now very rare ; it is not in the British Museum. 

Education of Pett. 27 

was accordingly sent to that university at Shrovetide, 
1586, and was entered at Emmanuel College, under 
charge of Mr. Charles Chadwick, the president. His 
father allowed him 20 per annum, besides books, ap- 
parel, and other necessaries. 

Phineas remained at Cambridge for three years. He 
was obliged to quit the university by the death of his 
"reverend, ever-loving father," whose loss, he says, 
" proved afterwards my utter undoing almost, had not 
God been more merciful to me." His mother married 
again, " a most wicked husband," says Pett, in his au- 
tobiography,* " one Mr. Thomas Nunn, a minister," 
but of what denomination he does not state. His 
mother's imprudence wholly deprived him of his main- 
tenance, and having no hopes of preferment from his 
friends, he necessarily abandoned his university career, 
"presently after Christmas, 1590." 

Early in the following year he was persuaded by his 
mother to apprentice himself to Mr. Richard Chapman, 
of Deptford Strond, one of the queen's master ship- 
wrights, whom his late father had " bred up from a 
child to that profession." He was allowed 2 6s. Sd. 
per annum, with which he had to provide himself with 
tools and apparel. Pett spent two years in this man's 
service to very little purpose; Chapman then died, and 
the apprentice was dismissed. Pett applied to his el- 

* There are three copies extant of the autobiography, all of which 
are in the British Museum. In the main, they differ but slightly from 
each other. Not one of them has been published in extenso. In De- 
cember, 1795, and in February, 1796, Dr. Samuel Denne communi- 
cated to the Society of Antiquaries particulars of two of these MSS., 
and subsequently published copious extracts from them in their trans- 
actions (Archcc. xii. anno 1796), in a very irregular and careless man- 
ner. It is probable that Dr. Denne never saw the original manuscript, 
but only a garbled copy of it. The above narrative has been taken 
from the original, and collated with the documents in the state-paper 

Phineaa Pett. 

drr brother. .l-<'ph, v\ h<> u <>uld not help him, although 
In- Mireeeded to liis father's post in the royal 
dockyard. Hi- was accordingly "constrained to shij) 
himself to si -a upon a desperate voyage in a man-of- 
war." He accepted the humble place of carpenter's 
mate on board the galleon Constance, of London. Pett's 
younger brother, Peter, then living at Wapping, gave 
him lodging, meat, and drink until the ship was ready 
to sail. JJut he had no money to buy clothes. Fortu- 
nately one \Villiam King, a yeoman in Essex, taking 
pity upon the unfortunate young man, lent him 3 for 
that purpose, which Pett afterwards repaid. 

The Constance was of only two hundred tons' burden. 
She set sail for the South a few days before Christmas, 
1592. There is no doubt that she was bound upon a 
piratical adventure. Piracy was not thought dishon- 
orable in those days. Four years had elapsed since 
the Armada had approached the English coast, and 
now the English and Dutch ships were scouring the 
seas in search of Spanish galleons. Whoever had the 
means of furnishing a ship, and could find a plucky 
captain to command her, sent her out as a privateer. 
Even the companies of the City of London clubbed 
their means together for the purpose of sending out 
Sir Walter Raleigh to capture Spanish ships, and af- 
terwards to divide the plunder, as any one may see on 
referring to the documents of the London Corpora- 

* See, fur instance, the "Index to the Journals of Records of the 
Corporation of the City of London " (Xo. 2, p. 3-tG, 1590-1694), under 
the head of "Sir Walter Kaleigh." There is a document dated the 
15th November, 1593, in the 35th of Elizabeth, which runs as fol- 
lows: " Committee appointed on behalf of such of the City Compa- 
nies as have ventured in the late Fleet set forward by Sir Walter Ra- 
leigh, Knight, and others, to join with such honorable personages as 
the Queen hath appointed, to take a perfect view of all such goods, 

Piracy and Privateering. 29 

The adventure in which Pett was concerned did not 
prove very fortunate. He was absent for about twenty 
months on the coasts of Spain and Barbary, and in the 
Levant, enduring much misery for want of victuals 
and apparel, and " without taking any purchase of any 
value." The Constance returned to the Irish coast 
"extreme poorly." The vessel entered Cork harbor, 
and then Pett, thoroughly disgusted with privateering 
life, took leave of both ship and voyage. With much 
difficulty he made his way across the country to Wa- 
terford, from whence he took ship for London. He 
arrived there three days before Christmas, 1594, in a 


beggarly condition, and made his way to his brother 
Peter's house, at Wapping, who again kindly enter- 
tained him. The elder brother, Joseph, received him 
more coldly, though he lent him forty shillings to find 
himself in clothes. At that time the fleet was ordered 
to be got ready for the last expedition of Drake and 
Hawkins to the West Indies. The Defiance was sent 
into Woolwich Dock to be sheathed, and as Joseph 
Pett was in charge of the job, he allowed his brother 
to be employed as a carpenter. 

In the following year Phineas succeeded in attract- 

prizes, spices, jewels, pearls, treasures, etc., lately taken in the Car- 
rack, and to make sale and division (Jor. 23, p. 15G). Suit to be 
made to the Queen and Privy Council for the buying of the goods, 
etc., lately taken at sea in the Carrack ; a committee appointed to 
take order accordingly ; the benefit or loss arising thereon to be di- 
vided and borne between the Chamber [of the Corporation of the City] 
and the Companies that adventured (157). The several Companies 
that adventured at sea with Sir Walter Raleigh to accept so much of the 
goods taken in the Carrack to the value of 12,000, according to the 
Queen's offer. A committee appointed to acquaint the Lords of the 
Council with the City's acceptance thereof (1G 7). Committee for sale 
of the Carrack goods appointed (174). Bonds for sale to be sealed 
(196). . . . Committee to audit accounts of a former adventure 
(224 b.)." 


ing tin- notice of Matthew Baker, who was com- 
iiiisMniu'd to rebuild her majesty's Triumph. Baker 
employed Pett as an ordinary workman, but he had 
scarcely begun the job before Baker was ordered to 
proceed with the building of a great new ship at Dept- 
ford, called the Repulse. Phineas wished to follow 
the progress of the Triumph, but finding his brother 
Joseph unwilling to retain him in his employment, he 
followed Baker to Deptford, and continued to work at 
the Jtepulse until she was finished, launched, and set 
sail on her voyage, at the end of April, 159G. This 
was the leading ship of the squadron which set sail for 
Cadiz, under the command of the Earl of Essex and 
the Lord Admiral Howard, and which did so much 
damage to the forts and shipping of Philip II. of 

During the winter months, while the work was in 
progress, Pett spent the leisure of his evenings in per- 
fecting himself in learning, especially in drawing, ci- 
phering, and mathematics, for the purpose, as he says, 
of attaining the knowledge of his profession. His 
master, Mr. Baker, gave him every encouragement, 
and from his assistance, he adds, "I must acknowledge 
I received my greatest lights." The lord admiral was 
often present at Baker's house. Pett was importuned 
to set sail with the ship when finished, but he preferred 
remaining at home. The principal reason, no doubt, 
that restrained him at this moment from seeking the 
patronage of the great, was the care of his two sisters,* 
who, having fled from the house of their barbarous 
stepfather, could find no refuge but in that of their 

* There were three sisters in all, the eldest of whom (Abigail) fell 
a victim to the cruelty of Xunn, who struck her across the head with 
the fire-tongs, from the effects of which she died in three days. Nunn 
was tried, and convicted of manslaughter. He died shortly after. 
Mrs. Nunn, Phineas's mother, was already dead. 

Petti s Promotion. 31 

brother Phineas. Joseph refused to receive them, and 
Peter, of Wapping, was perhaps less able than willing 
to do so. 

In April, 1597, Pett had the advantage of being in- 
troduced to Howard, Earl of Nottingham, then Lord 
High Admiral of England. This, he says, was the first 
beginning of his rising. Two years later, Howard rec- 
ommended him for employment in purveying plank 
and timber in Norfolk and Suffolk for ship-building 
purposes. Pett accomplished his business satisfacto- 
rily, though he had some malicious enemies to contend 
against. In his leisure he began to prepare models of 
ships, which he rigged and finished complete. He also 
proceeded with the study of mathematics. The be- 
ginning of the year 1600 found Pett once more out of 
employment, and during his enforced idleness, which 
continued for six months, he seriously contemplated 
abandoning his profession and attempting to gain " an 
honest and convenient maintenance " by joining a friend 
in purchasing a caravel (a small vessel), and navigating 
it himself. 

He was, however, prevented from undertaking this 
enterprise by a message which he received from the 
court, then stationed at Greenwich. The lord high 

* O 

admiral desired to see him, and, after many civil com- 
pliments, he offered him the post of keeper of the 
plankyard at Chatham. Pett was only too glad to 
accept this offer, though the salary was small. He 
shipped his furniture on board a hoy of Rainham, and 
accompanied it down the Thames to the junction with 
the Medway. There he escaped a great danger one 
of the sea-perils of the time. The mouths of naviga- 
ble rivers were still infested with pirates, and as the 
hoy containing Pett approached the Nore, about three 
o'clock in the morning, and while still dark, she came 
upon a Dunkirk picaroon full of men. Fortunately 

32 Pfthicas r<ft. 

tlit- pirate was al anchor; she weighed and gave rha>f, 
and, had not the hoy set full sail, and been impelled 
iij) the- Swale by a fresh wind, IVtt would have been 
taken prisoner, with all his furniture.* 

Arrived at Chatham, Pett met his brother Joseph, 
became reconciled to him, and ever after they lived 
together as loving brethren. At his brother's sugg<-- 
tion, Pett took a lease of the Manor House, and settled 
there with his sisters, lie was now in the direct way 
to preferment. Early in the following year (March, 
1601) he succeeded to the place of assistant to the 
principal master shipwright at Chatham, and undertook 
the repairs of her majesty's ship The Liorfs IFAe//;, 
and in the next year he new-built the Jlfoon, enlarg- 
ing her both in length and breadth. 

At the accession of James I., in 1G03, Pett was com- 
manded by the lord high admiral with all possible 
speed to build a little vessel for the young Prince Hen- 
ry, eldest son of his majesty. It was to be a sort of 
copy of the Ark Royal, which was the flagship of the 
lord high admiral when he defeated the Spanish Ar- 
rnada. Pett proceeded to accomplish the order with 
all despatch. The little ship was in length by the keel 
twenty-eight feet, in breadth twelve feet, and very curi- 
ously garnished within and without with painting and 
carving. After working by torch and candle light, 
night and day, the ship was launched, and set sail for 
the Thames, with the noise of drums, trumpets, and 
cannon, at the beginning of March, 1604. After pass- 
ing through a great storm at the Nore, the vessel 

* It would seem, from a paper hereafter to be more particularly re- 
ferred to, that the government encouraged the owners of ships and 
others to clear the seas of these pirates, agreeing to pny them for their 
labors. In 1622 Pett fitted out an expedition against these pests of 
navigation, but experienced some difficulty in getting his expenses 

The Resistance. 33 

reached the Tower, where the king and the young 
prince inspected her with delight. She was christened 
Disdain by the lord high admiral, and Pett was ap- 
pointed captain of the ship. 

After his return to Chatham, Pett, at his own charge, 
built a small ship at Gillingham, of three hundred tons, 
which he launched in the same year, and named the 
Resistance. The ship was scarcely out of hand when 
Pett was ordered to Woolwich, to prepare the Bear 
and other vessels for conveying his patron, the lord 
high admiral, as an ambassador extraordinary to Spain 
for the purpose of concluding peace, after a strife of 
more than forty years. The Resistance was hired by 
the government as a transport, and Pett was put in 
command. He seems to have been married at this 
time, as he mentions in his memoir that he parted 
with his wife and children at Chatham on the 24th of 
March, 1605, and that he sailed from Queenborough 
on Easter Sunday. 

During the voyage to Lisbon the Resistance became 
separated from the ambassador's squadron, and took 
refuge in Corunna. She then set sail for Lisbon, which 
she reached on the 24th of April; and afterwards for 
St. Lucar, on the Guadalquivir, near Seville, which she 
reached on the llth of May following. After revisit- 
ing Corunna, "according to instructions," on the home- 
ward voyage, Pett directed his course for England, and 
reached Rye on the 26th of June, "amidst much rain, 
thunder, and lightning." In the course of the same 
year his brother Joseph died, and Phineas succeeded 
to his post as master ship-builder at Chatham. He was 
permitted, in conjunction with one Henry Farvey and 
three others, to receive the usual reward of 5s. per ton 
for building five new merchant ships,* most probably 

* See grant S. P. O., 29th May, 160r>. 

for K:i-t Indian commerce, now assuming large dimen- 
sions. He was despatched by the government to Bear- 
wood, in Hampshire, to make a selection of timber from 
the estate of the Earl of Worcester for the use of the 
navy, and on presenting his report three thousand tons 
were purchased. What with his building of ships, his 
attendance on the lord admiral to Spain, and his selec- 
tion of timber for the government, his hands seem to 
have been kept very full during the whole of 1605. 

In July, 1606, Pett received private instructions from 
the lord high admiral to have all the king's ships " put 
into comely readiness " for the reception of the King of 
Denmark, who was expected on a royal visit. " Where- 
in," he says, " I strove extraordinarily to express my 
service for the honor of the kingdom ; but by reason 
the time limited was short, and the business great, we 
labored night and day to effect it, which accordingly 
Avas done, to the great honor of our sovereign king 
and master, and no less admiration of all strangers that 
were eye-witnesses to the same." The reception took 
place on the 10th of August, 1606. 

Shortly after the departure of his Majesty of Den- 
mark four of the royal ships the Ark, Victory, Gold- 
en Lion, and Swiftsure were ordered to be dry-docked; 
the two last mentioned at Deptford, under charge of 
Matthew Baker, and the two former at Woolwich, un- 
der that of Pett. For greater convenience, Pett re- 
moved his family to Woolwich. After being elected 
and sworn master of the Company of Shipwrights, he 
refers in his manuscript, for the first time, to his mag- 
nificent and original design of the Prince lloyal* 

" After settling at Woolwich," he says, " I began a 
curious model for the prince my master, most part 

* An engraving of this remarkable ship is given in Charnock's " His- 
tory of Marine Architecture," vol. ii. p. 199. 

Design of the "Prince Royal" 35 

whereof I wrought with my own hands." After fin- 
ishing the model he exhibited it to the lord high 
admiral, and, after receiving his approval and com- 
mands, he presented it to the young prince at Rich- 
mond. " His majesty (who was present) was exceed- 
ingly delighted with the sight of the model, and passed 
some time in questioning the divers material things 
concerning it, and demanded whether I could build 

^J * 

the great ship in all parts like the same; for I will, 
says his majesty, compare them together when she 
shall be finished. Then the lord admiral commanded 
me to tell his majesty the story of the Three Ravens* 
I had seen at Lisbon, in St. Vincent's Church, which I 
did as well as I could, with my best expressions, though 
somewhat daunted at first at his majesty's presence, 
having never before spoken before any king." 

Before, however, he could accomplish his purpose, 
Pett was overtaken by misfortunes. His enemies, very 
likely seeing with spite the favor with which he had 
been received by men in high position, stirred up an 
agitation against him. There may, and there very 
probably was, a great deal of jobbery going on in the 
dockyards. It was difficult, under the system which 
prevailed, to have any proper check upon the expendi- 

* The story of the Three, or rather Two, Havens is as follows : 
The body of St. Vincent was originally deposited at the cape which 
still bears his name on the Portuguese coast ; and his tomb, says the 
legend, was zealously guarded by a couple of ravens. When it was 
determined, in the twelfth century, to transport the relics of the saint 
to the cathedral of Lisbon, the two ravens accompanied the ship which 
contained them, one at its stem and the other at its stern. The relics 
were deposited in the Chapel of St. Vincent, within the cathedral, and 
there the two ravens have ever since remained. The monks contin- 
ued to support two such birds in the cloisters, and till very lately the 
officials gravely informed the visitor to the cathedral that they were 
the identical ravens which accompanied the saint's relics to their city. 
The birds figure in the arms of Lisbon. 

30 rithieaa F<tf. 

ture for the repair and construction of ships. At all 
events, a commission \vas appointed for the purpose of 
iii'juiring into the abuses and misdemeanors of those 
in office; and Pett's enemies took care that his past 
proceedings should be thoroughly overhauled, togeth- 
er with those of Sir Robert Mansell, then Treasurer to 
the Navy, Sir John Trevor, Surveyor, Sir Henry Pal- 
mer, Controller, Sir Thomas B hit her, Victualler, and 
manv others. 


While the commission was still sitting and holding 
what Pett calls their "malicious proceedings," he was 
able to lay the keel of his new great ship upon the 
stocks in the dock at AVoolwich on the 20th of Octo- 
ber, 1608. He had a clear conscience, for his hands 
were clean. He went on vigorously with his work, 
though he knew that the inquisition against him was 
at its full height. His enemies reported that he was 
" no artist, and that he was altogether insufficient to 
perform such a service " as that of building his great 
ship. Nevertheless, he persevered, believing in the 
goodness of his cause. Eventually he was enabled to 
turn the tables upon his accusers, and to completely 
justify himself in all his transactions with the king, 
the lord admiral, and the public officers, who were 
privy to all his transactions. Indeed, the result of the 
inquiry was not only to cause a great trouble and ex- 
pense to all the persons accused, but, as Pett says in 
his memoir, "the government itself of that royal office 
was so shaken and disjoined as brought almost ruin 
upon the whole navy, and a far greater charge to his 
majesty in his yearly expense than ever was known 

In the midst of his troubles and anxieties Pett was 

* The evidence taken by the commissioners is embodied in a volu- 
minous report. S. P. O., Dom. James I., vol. xli. 1608. 

Examination of Pelt's Enemies. 37 

unexpectedly cheered with the presence of his " mas- 
ter," Prince Henry, who specially travelled out of his 
way from Essex to visit him at Woolwich, to see with 
his own eyes what progress he was making with the 
great ship. After viewing the dry dock, which had 
been constructed by Pett, and was one of the first, if 
not the very first in England, his highness partook of 
a banquet which the ship-builder had hastily prepared 
for him in his temporary lodgings. 

One of the circumstances which troubled Pett so 
much at this time was the strenuous opposition of the 
other ship -builders to his plans of the great ship. 
There never had been such a frightful innovation. 
The model was all wrong. The lines were detestable. 
The man who planned the whole thing was a fool, a 
" cozener " of the king, and the ship, suppose it to be 
made, was " unfit for any other use but a dung-boat !" 
This attack upon his professional character weighed 
very heavily upon his mind. 

He determined to put his case in a straightforward 
manner before the lord high admiral. He set down 
in writing, in the briefest manner, everything that he 
had done, and the plots that had been hatched against 
him; and beseeched his lordship, for the honor of the 
state and the reputation of his office, to cause the 
entire matter to be thoroughly investigated "by judi- 
cious and impartial persons." After a conference with 
Pett, and an interview with his majesty, the lord high 
admiral was authorized by the latter to invite the 
Earls of Worcester and Suffolk to attend with him at 
Woolwich, and brin^ all the accusers of Pett's design 

7 O O 

of the great ship before them for the purpose of ex- 
amination, and to report to him as to the actual state 
of affairs. 

Meanwhile Pett's enemies had been equally busy. 
They obtained a private warrant from the Earl of 

38 Phincas 

Northampton* to survey the work; "which being 
thme," says IVtt, " upon return of the insufficiency of 
the same under their hands, and confirmation by oath, 
it was resolved among them I should be turned out, 
and forever disgraced." 

But the lords appointed by the king now interfered 
between Pett and his adversaries. They first inspect- 
ed the ship, and made a diligent survey of the form 
and manner of the work and the goodness of the mate- 
rials, and then called all the accusers before them to 
hear their allegations. They were examined separate- 
ly. First, Baker, the master ship-builder, was called. 
He objected to the size of the ship, to the length, 
breadth, depth, draught of water, height of jack, rake 
before and aft, breadth of the floor, scantling of the 
timber, and so on. Then another of the objectors was 
called, and his evidence was so clearly in contradiction 
to that which had already been given, that either one 
or both must be wrong. The principal objector, Cap- 
tain Waymouth, next gave his evidence; but he was 
able to say nothing to any purpose, except giving their 
lordships " a long, tedious discourse of proportions, 
measures, lines, and an infinite rabble of idle and un- 
profitable speeches, clean from the matter." 

The result was that their lordships reported favor- 
ably of the design of the ship, and the progress which 
had already been made. The Earl of Northampton 
interposed his influence; and the king himself, accom- 
panied by the young prince, went down to Woolwich, 

* The Earl of Northampton, privy seal, was Lord "Warden of the 
Cinque Ports ; hence his moving in the matter. Pett says he was 
his "most implacable enemy." It is probable that the earl was jeal- 
ous of Pett, because he had received his commission to build the 
great ship directly from the sovereign, without the intervention of his 

The "Prince Royal" Launched. 39 

and made a personal examination.* A great many wit- 
nesses were again examined, twenty-four on one side 
and twenty-seven on the other. The king then care- 
fully examined the ship himself "the planks, the tree- 
nails, the workmanship, and the cross-grained timber." 
"The cross-grain," he concluded, "was in the men and 
not in the timber." After all the measurements had 
been made and found correct, "his majesty," says Pett, 
" with a loud voice commanded the measurers to de- 
clare publicly the very truth; which when they had 
delivered clearly on our side, all the whole multitude 
heaved up their hats, and gave a great and loud shout 
and acclamation. And then the prince, his highness, 
called with a high voice in these words: 'Where be 
now these perjured fellows that dare thus abuse his 
majesty with these false accusations? Do they not 
worthily deserve hanging ?" 

Thus Pett triumphed over all his enemies, and was 
allowed to finish the great ship in his own way. By 
the middle of September, 1610, the vessel was ready 
to be " strucken down upon her ways;" and a dozen 
of the choice master-carpenters of his majesty's navy 
came from Chatham to assist in launching her. The 
ship was decorated, gilded, draped, and garlanded; and 
on the 24th the king, the queen, and the royal family 
came from the palace at Theobald's to witness the great 
sight. Unfortunately the day proved very rough, and 
it was little better than a neap tide. The ship start- 
ed very well, but the wind " overblew the tide ;" she 

* This royal investigation took place at Woolwich on the 8th of 
May, 1609. The state -paper office contains a report of the same 
date, most probably the one presented to the king, signed by six ship- 
builders and Captain Waymonth, and countersigned by Northampton 
and four others. The report is headed, "The Prince Royal: imper- 
fections found upon view of the new work begun at Woolwich." It 
would occupy too much space to give the results here. 


caught in the 1 doek-gatcs, and settled hard upon the 
Around, so that there was no possibility of launching 
lirr that tide-. 

This was a great disappointment. The king retired 
to the palace at Greenwich, though the prince lingered 
Behind. When he left, he promised to return by mid- 
night, after which it was proposed to make another 
effort to set the ship afloat. When the time arrived, 
the prince again made his appearance, and joined the 
lord high admiral, and the principal naval officials. It 
was bright moonshine. After midnight the rain began 
to fall, and the wind to blow from the southwest. But 
about two o'clock, an hour before high water, the word 
was given to set all taut, and the ship went away with- 
out any straining of screws and tackles, till she came 
clear afloat into the midst of the Thames. The prince 
was aboard, and, amid the blast of trumpets and ex- 
pressions of joy, he performed the ceremony of drink- 
ing from the great standing cup, and throwing the rest 
of the wine towards the half-deck, and christening the 
ship by the name of the Prince Royal* 

The dimensions of the ship may be briefly described. 
Her keel was one hundred and fourteen feet long, and 
her cross-beam forty-four feet. She was of fourteen 
hundred tons' burden, and carried sixty-four pieces of 
great ordnance. She was the largest ship that had yet 
been constructed in England. 

The Prince Royal was, at the time she was built, 
considered one of the most wonderful efforts of human 
genius. Mr. Charnock, in his " Treatise on Marine 
Architecture," speaks of her as abounding in striking 

* Alas, for the uncertainties of life ! This noble young prince 
the hope of England and the joy of his parents, from whom such 
great things were anticipated for he was graceful, frank, brave, ac- 
tive, and a lover of the sea was seized with a serious illness, and 
died in his eighteenth year, on the 16th of November, 1612. 

Modifications in Ship-building. 41 

peculiarities. Previous to the construction of this ship 
vessels were built in the style of the Venetian galley, 
which, although well adapted for the quiet Mediterra- 
nean, were not suited for the stormy northern ocean. 
The fighting ships, also, of the time of Henry VIII. and 
Elizabeth were too full of " top-hamper " for modern 
navigation. "They were oppressed by high forecastles 
and poops. Pett struck out entirely new ideas in the 
build and lines of his new ship; and the course which 
he adopted had its effect upon all future marine struct- 
ures. The ship was more handy, more wieldy, and 
more convenient. She was unquestionably the first 
effort of English ingenuity in the direction of manage- 
ableness and simplicity. " The vessel in question," 
says Charnock, " may be considered the parent of the 
class of shipping which continues in practice even to 
the present moment. 

It is scarcely necessary to pursue in detail the fur- 
ther history of Phineas Pett. We may briefly men- 
tion the principal points. In 1612 the Prince Royal 
was appointed to convey the Princess Elizabeth and 
her husband, the palsgrave, to the Continent. Pett 
was on board the ship, and found that " it wrought ex- 
ceedingly well, and was so yare of conduct that a foot 
of helm would steer her." While at Flushing, "such a 
multitude of people men, women, and children came 
from all places in Holland to see the ship, that we 
could scarce have room to go up and down till very 

About the 27th of March, 1616, Pett bargained with 
Sir Walter Raleigh to build a vessel of five hundred 
tons,* and received 500 from him on account. The 
king, through the interposition of the lord admiral, al- 

* Pett says she was to be five hundred tons, but when he turned 
her out her burden was rated at seven hundred tons. 


lowed IVtt to lay her keel on the galley dock at Wool- 
wich. In tlic same year lie was conmii i<me<l by tin- 
Lord Zouehe, now Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, 
to construct a pinnace of forty tons, in respect of 
which Pott remarks: "Towards the whole of the hull 
of the pinnace, and all her rigging, I received only 
100 from the Lord Zouehe, the rest Sir Henry Main- 
waring (half-brother to Raleigh) cunningly received on 
my behalf, without my knowledge, which I never got 
from him but by piecemeal, so that by the bargain I 
was loser 100 at least. 

Pett fared much worse at the hands of Raleigh him- 
self. His great ship, the Destiny, was finished and 
launched in December, 1616. "I delivered her to 
him," says Pett, "on float, in good order and fashion; 
by which business I lost 700, and could never get any 
recompense at all for it; Sir Walter going to sea and 
leaving me unsatisfied."* Xor was this the only loss 
that Pett met with this year. The king, he states, 
" bestowed upon me, for the supply of my present re- 
lief, the making of a knight -baronet," which authority 
Pett passed to a recusant, one Francis Ratcliffe, for 
700; but that worthy defrauded him, so that he lost 
30 by the bargain. 

Next year, Pett was despatched by the government 
to the Xew Forest in Hampshire, "where," he says, 

one Sir Giles Mompesson f had made a vast waste in 


" This conduct of Raleigh's was the more inexcusable, as there is 
in the state -paper office a warrant dated IGth of November, 1617, 
for the payment to Pett of seven hundred crowns "for building the 
new ship, the Destiny, of London, of seven hundred tons' burden." 
The least he could have done was to have handed over to the builder 
his royal and usual reward. In the above warrant, by the way, the 
title "our well-beloved subject," the ordinary prefix to such grants, 
has either been left blank or erased (it is difficult to say which), but 
was very significant of the slippery footing of Raleigh at court. 

f Sir Giles Overreach, in the play of "A New Way to Pay Old 


Expedition against Pirates. 4 

the spoil of his majesty's timber, to redress which I 
was employed thither, to make choice out of the num- 
ber of trees he had felled of all such timber as was 
useful for shipping, in which business I spent a great 
deal of time, and brought myself into a great deal of 
trouble." About this period, poor Pett's wife and two 
of his children lay for some time at death's door. Then 
more inquiries took place into the abuses of the dock- 
yards, in which it was sought to implicate Pett. Dur- 
ing the next three years (1618-20) he worked under 
the immediate orders of the commissioners in the New 
Dock in Chatham. 

In 1620 Pett's friend, Sir Robert Mansell, was ap- 
pointed general of the fleet destined to chastise the 
Algerine pirates, who still continued their depredations 
on the shipping in the Channel, and the king there- 
upon commissioned Pett to build with all despatch two 
pinnaces, of one hundred and twenty and eighty tons 
respectively. " I was myself," he says, " to serve as 
captain in the voyage r ' being glad, no doubt, to es- 
cape from his tormentors. The two pinnaces were 
built at Ratcliffe, and were launched on the 16th and 
18th of October, 1620. On the 30th, Pett sailed with 
the fleet, and, after driving the pirates out of the 
Channel, he returned to port after an absence of eleven 

His enemies had taken advantage of his absence 
from England to get an order for the survey of the 
Prince Royal, his masterpiece ; the result of which 
was, he says, that "they maliciously certified the ship 
to be unserviceable, and not fit to continue that what 
charges should be bestowed upon her would be lost." 
Nevertheless, the Prince Royal was docked, and fitted 

Debts," by Philip Massinger. It was difficult for the poet, or any 
other person, to libel such a personage as Mompesson. 

44 Phincas P<tt. 

a voyage to Spain. She wa> sent thither with 
Charles, Prince of Wales, and the Duke of Bucking- 
ham, the former going in search of a Spanish wife. 
Pett, the builder of the ship, was commanded to ac- 
company the young prince and the duke. 

The expedition sailed on the 24th of August, 1623, 
and returned on the 14th of October. Pett was enter- 
tained on board the Prince Royal, and rendered occa- 
sional services to the officers in command, though noth- 
ing of importance occurred during the voyage. The 
Prince of Wales presented him with a valuable gold 
chain as a reward for his attendance. In 1625, Pett, 
after rendering many important services to the admi- 
ralty, was ordered again to prepare the Prince Royal 
for sea. She was to bring over the Prince of Wales's 
bride from France. While the preparations were mak- 
ing for the voyage, news reached Chatham of the death 
of King James. Pett was afterwards commanded to go 
forward with the work of preparing the Prince R.oyal, 
as well as the whole fleet, which was intended to escort 
the French princess, or rather the queen, to England. 
Ten expedition took place in May, and the young 

. j en landed at Dover on the 12th of that month. 

fait continued to be employed in building and re- 
pairing ships, as well as in preparing new designs, 
which he submitted to the king and the commissioners 
of the navy. In 1626 he was appointed a joint com- 
missioner, with the lord high admiral, the Lord Treas- 
urer Marlborough, and others, " to inquire into certain 
alleged abuses of the navy, and to view the state there- 
of, and also the stores thereof," clearly showing that 
he was regaining his old position. He was also en- 
gaged in determining the best mode of measuring the 
tonnage of ships.* Four years later he was again ap- 

* Pett's method is described in a paper contained in the S. P. O., 

The "Sovereign of the eas" 45 

pointed a commissioner for making " a general survey 
of the whole navy at Chatham." For this and his 
other services the king promoted Pett to be a princi- 
pal officer of the navy, with a fee of 200 per annum. 
His patent was sealed on the 16th of January, 1631. 
In the same year the king visited Woolwich to witness 
the launching of the Vanguard, which Pett had built; 
and his majesty honored the shipwright by partici- 
pating in a banquet at his lodgings. 

From this period to the year 1637, Pett records 
nothing of particular importance in his autobiography. 
He was chiefly occupied in aiding his son Peter who 
was rapidly increasing his fame as a shipwright in 
repairing and building first-class ships of war. As 
Pett had, on an early occasion in his life, prepared a 
miniature ship for Prince Henry, eldest son of James I., 
he now proceeded to prepare a similar model for the 
Prince of Wales, the king's eldest son, afterwards 
Charles II. This model was presented to the prince 
at St. James's, "who entertained it with great joy, be- 
ing purposely made to disport himself withal." On 
the next visit of his majesty to Woolwich, he inspected 
the progress made with the Leopard, a sloop-of-war 
built by Peter Pett. While in the hold of the vessel, 
the king called Phineas to one side, and told him of 
his resolution to have a great new ship built, and that 
Phineas must be the builder. This great new ship was 
the Sovereign of the Seas, afterwards built by Phineas 
and Peter Pett. Some say that the model was pre- 
pared by the latter; but Phineas says that it was pre- 
pared by himself, and finished by the 29th of October, 
1634. As a compensation for his services, his majesty 
renewed his pension of 40 (which had been previous- 

dated 21st of October, 1G2G. The Trinity Corporation adopted his 

46 Phincas Pdt. 

lv Mo], ]>r<l), with orders for all the arrears due upon it 

To provide the necessary timber for the new ship, 
Phineas and his son went down into the north to sur- 
vey the forests. They went first by water to Whitby; 
from thence they proceeded on horseback to Gisbor- 
ouo;h and baited; then to Stockton, where they found 


but poor entertainment, though they lodged with the 
mayor, whose house "was only a mean thatched cot- 
tage !" Middlesborough and the great iron district of 
the north had not yet come into existence. Newcas- 
tle, already of some importance, was the principal 
scene of their labors. The timber for the new ship 
was found in Chapley \Vood and Brancepeth Park. 
The gentry did all they could to facilitate the object 
of Pett. On his journey homewards (July, 1635), he 
took Cambridge on his way, where, says he, "I lodged 
at the Falcon, and visited Emmanuel College, where I 
had been a scholar in my youth." 

The Sovereign of the Seas was launched on the 12th 
of October, 1637, having been about two years in build- 
ing. Evelyn, in his diary, says of the ship (19th July, 
1641) : " "\Ve rode to Rochester and Chatham to see the 
Soveraigne, a monstrous vessel so called, being, for 
burthen, defence, and ornament, the richest that ever 
spread cloth before the wind. She carried one hundred 
brass cannon, and was sixteen hundred tons, a rare 
sailer, the work of the famous Phineas Pett." Rear- 
admiral Sir William Symonds says that she was after- 
wards cut down, and was a safe and fast ship.* 

The Sovereign continued for nearly sixty years to 
be the finest ship in the English service. Though fre- 
quently engaged in the most injurious occupations, she 

* ' ; Memoirs of the Life and Services of Bear-admiral Sir William 
Symonds, Kt.," p. 94. 

Sir Peter Pett. 47 

continued fit for any services Avhich the exigencies of 
the state might require. She fought all through the 
wars of the commonwealth; she was the leading ship 
of Admiral Blake, and was in all the great naval en- 
gagements with France and Holland. The Dutch gave 
her the name of The Golden Devil. In the last fight 
between the English and French, she encountered the 
"Wonder of the World, and so warmly plied the French 
admiral that she forced him out of his three-decked 
wooden castle, and, chasing the Royal Sun before her, 
forced her to fly for shelter among the rocks, where 
she became a prey to lesser vessels, and was reduced 
to ashes. At last, in the reign of William III., the 
Sovereign became leaky and defective with age ; she 
was laid up at Chatham, and, being set on fire by neg- 
ligence or accident, she burned to the water's edge. 

To return to the history of Phineas Pett. As years 
approached, he retired from oifice, and his "loving 
son," as he always affectionately designates Peter, suc- 
ceeded him as principal shipwright, Charles I. confer- 
ring upon him the honor of knighthood. Phineas 
lived for ten years after the Sovereign of the Seas was 
launched. In the burial register of the parish of 
Chatham it is recorded, " Phineas Pett, Esqe. and 
Capt., was buried 21st August, 1647."* 

* Pett's dwelling-house at Rochester is thus described in an anony- 
mous history of that town (p. 337, ed. 1817): "Beyond the victual- 
ling office, on the same side of the High Street, at Rochester, is an 
old mansion, now occupied by a Mr. Morson, an attorney, which for- 
merly belonged to the Petts, the celebrated ship-builders. The chim- 
ney-piece in the principal room is of wood, curiously carved, the tip- 
per part being divided into compartments by caryatydes. The cen- 
tral compartment contains the family arms, viz., O, on a fesse, gu., 
between three pellets, a lion passant gardant of the field. On the 
back of the grate is a cast of Neptune, standing erect in his car, with 
Triton blowing conches, etc., and the date 1650." 

]*Itincas 1\U. 


Sir IVter IVtt was almost as distinguished as his Ta- 
llin-. He was the builder of the lir>t frigate, the Con- 
W<n-irt',-k. Sir William Symonds says of this \ -. j- 
Slu- Mas an incomparable sailer, remarkable for 
her sharpness ami the fineness of her lines; and many 
were built like her." Pett " introduced convex lines 
on the immersed part of the hull, with the studding 
and sprit sails; and, in short, he appears to have fully 
deserved his character of being the best ship architect 
of his time."* Sir Peter Pett's monument in Deptford 
Old Church fully records his services to England's 
naval power. 

The Petts arc said to have been connected with ship- 

building in the Thames for not less than two hundred 


years. Fuller, in his "Worthies of England," says of 
them, " I am credibly informed that that mystery of 
shipwrights for some descents hath been preserved 
faithfully in families, of whom the Pctts about Chat- 


ham are of singular regard. Good success have they 
with their skill, and carefully keep so precious a pearl, 
lest otherwise amongst many friends some foes attain 
unto it." 

The late Peter Rolt, member for Greenwich, took 
pride in being descended from the Petts; but, so far 
as we know, the name itself has died out. In 1801, 
when Charnock's "History of Marine Architecture" 
was published, 3Ir. Pett, of Tovil, near Maidstone, was 
the sole representative of the family. 

* Symonds, "Memoirs of Life and Services," p. 




The spirit of Paley's maxim, that l he alone discovers who proves,' 
is applicable to the history of inventions and discoveries ; for certainly 
he alone invents to any good purpose who satisfies the world that the 
means he may have devised have been found competent to the end 
proposed." DR. SAMUEL BROAVX. 

"Too often the real worker and discoverer remains unknown, and 
an invention, beautiful but useless in one age or country, can be ap- 
plied only in a remote generation, or in a distant land. Mankind 
hangs together from generation to generation ; easy labor is but in- 
herited skill ; great discoveries and inventions are worked up to by the 
efforts of myriads ere the goal is reached." H. M. HTNDMAN. 

THOUGH a long period elapsed between the times of 
Phineas Pett and " Screw " Smith, comparatively little 
improvement had been effected in the art of ship- 
building. The Sovereign of the Seas had not been ex- 
celled by any ship of war built down to the end of the 
last century.* At a comparatively recent date, ships 
continued to be built of timber and plank, and impelled 
by sails and oars, as they had been for thousands of 
years before. 

But this century has witnessed many marvellous 
changes. A new material of construction has been in- 

* In the "Transactions of the Institution of Naval Architects for 
1860," it was pointed out that the general dimensions and form of bot- 
tom, of this ship were very similar to the most famous line-of-battle 
ships built down to the end of the last century, some of which were 
then in existence. 


50 Francis Pcttlt fcmith. 

troduced into ship-building, with entirely new methods 
of propulsion. Old tilings liavc been displaced by new, 
ami tin- magnitude of the results has been extraordi- 
nary. The most important changes have been in the 
use of iron and steel instead of wood, and in the em- 
ployment of the steam-engine in impelling ships by 
the paddle or the screw. 

So Ions: as timber was used for the construction of 


ships, the number of vessels built annually, especially 
in so small an island as Britain, must necessarily have 
continued very limited. Indeed, so little had the cul- 
tivation of oak in Great Britain been attended to, that 
all the royal forests could not have supplied sufficient 
timber to build one line-of-battle ship annually; while 
for the mercantile marine, the world had to be ran- 
sacked for wood, often of a very inferior quality. 

Take, for instance, the seventy-eight gun ship, the 
Ilindostan, launched a few years ago. It would have 
required four thousand two hundred loads of timber 
to build a ship of that description, and the growth of 
the timber would have occupied seventy acres of 
ground during eighty years.* It would have needed 
something like eight hundred thousand acres of land 
on which to grow the timber for the ships annually 
built in this country for commercial purposes. And 
timber ships are by no means lasting. The average 
durability of ships of war employed in active service 
has been calculated to be about thirteen years, even 
when built of British oak. 

Indeed, years ago, the building of shipping in this 
country was much hindered by the want of materials. 
The trade was being rapidly transferred to Canada and 

* According to the calculation of Mr. Chatfield, of her majesty's 
dockyard at Plymouth, in a paper read before the British Association 
in. 1841 on ship-building. 

Iron Employed in Ship-building. 51 

the United States. Some years since an American 
captain said to an Englishman, Captain Hall, when in 
China, " You will soon have to come to our country for 
your ships: your little island cannot grow wood enough 
for a large marine." " Oh !" said the Englishman, " we 
can build ships of iron !" " Iron," replied the Ameri- 
can, in surprise ; " why, iron sinks ; only wood can 
float!" "Well! you will find I am right." The 
prophecy was correct. The Englishman in question 
has now a fleet of splendid iron steamers at sea. 

The use of iron in ship-building had small begin- 
nings, like everything else. The established prejudice 
that iron must necessarily sink in water long con- 
tinued to prevail against its employment. The first 
iron vessel was built and launched about a hundred 
years since by John Wilkinson, of Bradley Forge, in 
Staffordshire. In a letter of his, dated the 14th of 
July, 1787, the original of which we have seen, he 
writes : "Yesterday week my iron boat was launched. 
It answers all my expectations, and has convinced the 
unbelievers, who were nine hundred and ninety-nine in 
one thousand. It will be only a nine-days' wonder, 
and afterwards a Columbus's egg." It was, however, 
more than a nine-days' wonder ; for wood long con- 
tinued to be thought the only material capable of 

Although Wilkinson's iron vessels continued to ply 
upon the Severn, more than twenty years elapsed be- 
fore another ship-builder ventured to follow his exam- 
ple. But, in 1810, Onions & Son, of Brosely, built 
several iron vessels, also for use upon the Severn. 
Then, in 1815, Mr. Jervons, of Liverpool, built a small 
iron boat for use on the Mersey. Six years later, in 
1821, Mr. Aaron Manby designed an iron steam vessel, 
which was built at the Horsley Company's Works, in 
Staffordshire. She sailed from London to Havre a few 

52 Francis Pcttit Smith. 

years later, under the command of Captain (afterwards 
Sir Charles) Napier, R. N. She was freighted with 
a cargo of linseed and iron castings, and went up the 
Seine to Paris. It was some time, however, before 
iron came into general use. Ten years later, in 1832, 
Maudslay & Field built four iron vessels for the East 
India Company. In the course of about twenty years 
the use of iron became general, not only for ships of 
Avar, but for merchant ships plying to all parts of the 

"When ships began to be built of iron, it was found 
that they could be increased without limit, so long as 
coal, iron, machinery, and strong men full of skill and 
industry were procurable. The trade in ship-building 
returned to Britain, where iron ships are now made and 
exported in large numbers; the mercantile marine of 
this country exceeding in amount and tonnage that of 
all the other countries of the world put together. The 
"wooden walls"* of England exist no more, for iron 
has superseded wood. Instead of constructing vessels 
from the forest, we are now digging new navies out of 
the bowels of the earth, and our " walls," instead of 
wood, are now of iron and steel. 

The attempt to propel ships by other means than 
sails and oars went on from century to century, and 
did not succeed until almost within our own time. It 
is said that the Roman army under Claudius Codex 
was transported into Sicily in boats propelled by 
wheels moved by oxen. Galleys propelled by wheels 

* The phrase "wooden walls" is derived from the Greek. When 
the city of Athens was once in danger of being attacked and destroyed, 
the Oracle of Delphi was consulted. The inhabitants were told that 
there was no safety for them but in their "wooden walls" that is, 
their shipping. As they had then a powerful fleet, the oracle gave 
them rational advice, which had the effect of saving the Athenian 

The First Steam-vessels. 53 

in paddles were afterwards attempted. The Harleian 
MS. contains an Italian book of sketches, attributed to 
the fifteenth century, in which there appears a drawing 
of a paddle-boat, evidently intended to be worked by 
men. Paddle-boats, worked by horse-power, were also 
tried. Blasco Garay made a supreme effort at Barce- 
lona in 1543. His vessel was propelled by a paddle- 
wheel on each side, worked by forty men. But nothing 
came of the experiment. 

Many other efforts of a similar kind were made by 
Saver y among others* until we come down to Patrick 
Miller, of Dalswinton, who, in 1787, invented a double- 
hulled boat, which he caused to be propelled on the 
Firth of Forth by men working a capstan which drove 
the paddles on each side. The men soon became ex- 
hausted, and on Miller mentioning the subject to Will- 
iam Symington, who was then exhibiting his road loco- 
motive in Edinburgh, Symington at once said, " Why 
don't you employ steam-power ?" 

There were many speculations in early times as to 
the application of steam-power for propelling vessels 
through the water. David Ramsay in 1618, Dr. Grant 
in 1632, the Marquis of Worcester in 1661, were among 
the first in England to publish their views upon the 
subject. But it is probable that Denis Papin, the ban- 
ished Huguenot physician, for some time curator of 
the Royal Society, was the first who made a model 
steamboat. During his residence in England he was 

o o 

elected professor of mathematics in the University of 
Marburg. It was while at that city that he construct- 
ed, in 1707, a small steam-engine, which he fitted in a 
boat une petite machine cTun vaisseau d roues and 
despatched it to England for the purpose of being 

* An account of these is given by Bennet Woodcroft in his " Sketch 
of the Origin and Progress of Steam Navigation," London, 1848. 

5-i 7/v7 ;?<"/.<? P'U'it Smith. 

tric<] upon tlu Thames. Tlie littlo vessel never readied 
Knuhnnl. At Mttnden. the boatmen on the .River We- 


scr, thinking that, if successful, it would destroy their 
occupation, seized the boat, with its machine, and bar- 
barously destroyed it. Papin did not repeat his exper- 
iment, and died a few years later. 

The next inventor was Jonathan Hulls, of Campden, 
in Gloucestershire. He patented a steamboat in 1736, 
and worked the paddle-wheel placed at the stern of the 
vessel by means of a Xewcomen engine. He tried his 
boat on the River Avon, at Evesham, but it did not 
succeed, and the engine was taken on shore again. A 
local poet commemorated his failure in the following 
lines, which were remembered long after his steamboat 
experiment had been forgotten: 

" Jonathan Hull. 

With his paper skull, 
Tried hard to make a machine 
That should go against wind and tide ; 

But he, like an ass, 

Couldn't bring it to pass, 
So at last was ashamed to be seen." 

Nothing of importance was done in the direction of 
a steam-engine able to drive paddles until the inven- 
tion by James Watt, in 1769, of his double-acting en- 
gine the first step by which steam was rendered 
capable of being successfully used to impel a vessel. 
But "Watt was indifferent to taking up the subject of 
steam navigation, as well as of steam locomotion. He 
refused many invitations to make steam-engines for 
the propulsion of ships, preferring to confine himself 
to his "regular established trade and manufacture," 
that of making condensing steam-engines, which had 
become of great importance towards the close of his 

Two records exist of paddle-wheel steamboats hav- 

The First Practical Steamboats. 55 

ing been early tried in France one by the Comte 
d'Auxiron and M. Perrier in 1774, the other by the 
Comte de Jouffroy in 1783 but the notices of their 
experiments are very vague, and rest on somewhat 
doubtful authority. 

The idea, however, had been born, and was not 
allowed to die. When Mr. Miller, of Dalswinton, had 
revived the notion of propelling vessels by means of 
paddle-wheels, worked, as Savery had before worked 
them, by means of a capstan placed in the centre of 
the vessel, and when he complained to Symington of 
the fatigue caused to the men by working the capstan, 
and Symington had suggested the use of steam, Mr. 
Miller w r as impressed by the idea, and proceeded to or- 
der a steam-engine for the purpose of trying the ex- 
periment. The boat was built at Edinburgh, and re- 
moved to Dalswinton Lake. It was there fitted with 
Symington's steam-engine, and first tried with success 
on the 14th of October, 1788, as has been related at 
length in Mr. Nasmyth's " Autobiography." The ex- 
periment was repeated with even greater success in the 
Charlotte Dundas in 1801, which was used to tow ves- 
sels along the Forth and Clyde Canal, and to bring 
ships up the Firth of Forth to the canal entrance at 


The progress of steam navigation was nevertheless 
very slow. Symington's experiments were not renewed. 
The Charlotte Dundas was withdrawn from use, be- 
cause of the supposed injury to the banks of the canal, 
caused by the swell from the wheel. The steamboat 
was laid up in a creek at Bainsford, where it went to 
ruin, and the inventor himself died in poverty. Among 
those who inspected the vessel while at work were 
Fulton, the American artist, and Andrew Bell, the 
Glasgow engineer. The former had already occupied 
himself with model steamboats, both at Paris and in 

5G Francis Pcttit Smith. 

London, and in 1805 lie obtained from Boulton & 
\Yatt, of Birmingham, the steam-engine required for 
propelling his paddle steamboat on the Hudson. The 
Clcrmont was first started in August, 1807, and at- 
tained a speed of nearly five miles an hour. Five years 
later, Andrew Bell constructed and tried his first steam- 
er on the Clyde. 

It was not until 1815 that the first steamboat was 
seen on the Thames. This was the Richmond packet, 
which plied between London and Richmond. The 
vessel was fitted with the first marine engine Henry 
Maudslay ever made. During the same year the 
Margery, formerly employed on the Firth of Forth, 
began plying between Gravesend and London; and 
the Thames, formerly the Argyll, came round from the 
Clyde, encountering rough seas, and making the voy- 
age of seven hundred and fifty-eight miles in five days 
and two hours. This was thought extraordinarily rapid 
though the voyage of about three thousand miles, 
from Liverpool to New York, can now be made in only 
about two days' more time. 

In nearly all seagoing vessels the paddle has now 
almost entirely given place to the screw. It was long 
before this invention was perfected and brought into 
general use. It was not the production of one man, 
but of several generations of mechanical inventors. A 
perfected invention does not burst forth from the 
brain like a poetic thought or a fine resolve. It has to 
be initiated, labored over, and pursued in the face 
of disappointments, difficulties, and discouragements. 
Sometimes the idea is born in one generation, followed 
out in the next, and perhaps perfected in the third. 
In an age of progress one invention merely paves the 
way for another. What was the wonder of yesterday 
becomes the common and unnoticed thing of to-day. 

The first idea of the screw was thrown out by James 

Invention of the Screw. 57 

Watt more than a century ago. Matthew Boulton, of 
Birmingham, had proposed to move canal-boats by 
means of the steam-engine ; and Dr. Small, his friend, 
was in communication with James Watt, then residing 
at Glasgow, on the subject. In a letter from Watt to 
Small, dated the 30th of September, 1770, the former, 
after speaking of the condenser, and saying that it 
cannot be dispensed with, proceeds: "Have you ever 
considered a spiral oar for that purpose [propulsion of 
canal-boats], or are you for two wheels?" Watt 
added a pen-and-ink drawing of his spiral oar, greatly 
resembling the form of screw afterwards patented. 
Nothing, however, was actually done, and the idea 

It was revived again in 1785, by Joseph Bramah, 
a wonderful projector and inventor.* He took out a 
patent, which included a rotatory steam-engine, and a 
mode of propelling vessels by means either of a pad- 
dle-wheel or a " screw propeller." This propeller was 
"similar to the fly of a smoke-jack;" but there is no 
account of Bramah having practically tried this meth- 
od of propulsion. 

Austria, also, claims the honor of the invention of 
the screw steamer. At Trieste and Vienna are statues 
erected to Joseph Ressel, on whose behalf his country- 
men lay claim to the invention; and patents for some 
sort of a screw date back as far as 1794. Patents were 
also taken out in England and America by W. Lyttle- 
ton in 1794; by E. Shorter in 1799; by J. C. Stevens, 
of New Jersey, in 1804; by Henry James in 1811 but 
nothing practical was accomplished. Richard Treve- 
thick, the anticipator of many things, also took out a 
patent in 1815, and he describes the screw pro- 
peller with considerable minuteness. Millington, Why- 

* See "Industrial Biography," pp. 183-197. 

58 Francis Pcttit Smith. 

took, IVrkins Muivstier, and Brown followed, witli no 
better results. 

The late Dr. Birkbeck, in a letter addressed to the 
M- // '////' -.s' Jt't/ister, in the year 1824, claimed that 
John Swan, of 82 Mansfield Street, Kingsland Road, 
London, was the practical inventor of the screw pro- 
peller. John Swan was a native of Coldingham, Ber- 
wickshire. He had removed to London, and entered 
the employment of Messrs. Gordon, of Deptford. Swan 
fitted up a boat with his propeller, and tried it on a 
sheet of water in the grounds of Charles Gordon, Esq., 
of Dulwich Hill. " The velocity and steadiness of the 
motion," said Dr. Birkbeck in his letter, " so far ex- 
ceeded that of the same model when impelled by pad- 
dle-wheels driven by the same spring, that I could not 
doubt its superiority; and the stillness of the water 
was such as to give the vessel the appearance of being 
moved by some magical power." 

Then comes another claimant Mr. Robert Wilson, 
then of Dunbar (not far from Coldingham), but after- 
wards of the Bridgewater Foundry, Patricroft. In his 
pamphlet, published a few years ago, he states that he 
had long considered the subject, and in 1827 he made 
a small model, fitted with " revolving skulls," which he 
tried on a sheet of water in the presence of the Hon. 
Capt. Anthony Maitland, son of the Earl of Lauder- 
dale. The experiment was successful so successful 
that w r hen the "stern paddles' 1 ' were in 1828 used at 
Leith in a boat twenty-five feet long, with two men 
to work the machinery, the boat was propelled at an 
average speed of about ten miles an hour; and the 
Society of Arts afterwards, in October, 1832, awarded 
Mr. Wilson their silver medal, for the " description, 
drawing, and models of stern paddles for propelling 
steamboats, invented by him." The subject was, in 
1833, brought by Sir John Sinclair under the consider- 

Smith's Model Screws. 59 

ation of the Board of Admiralty; but the report of 
the officials (Oliver Lang, Abethell, Lloyd, and Kings- 
ton) was to the effect that "the plan proposed (inde- 
pendent of practical difficulties) is objectionable, as it 
involves a greater loss of power than the common 
mode of applying the wheels to the side." And here 
ended, the experiment, so far as Mr. Wilson's " stern 
paddles " were concerned. 

It will be observed, from what has been said, that 
the idea of a screw propeller is a very old one. Watt, 
Bramah, Trevethick, and many more, had given de- 
scriptions of the screw. Trevethick schemed a num- 
ber of its forms and applications, which have been the 
subject of many subsequent patents. It has been so 
with many inventions. It is not the man who gives 
the first idea of a machine who is entitled to the merit 
of its introduction, or the man who repeats the idea, 
and re-repeats it, but the man who is so deeply im- 
pressed with the importance of the discovery that he 
insists upon its adoption, will take no denial, and, at 
the risk of fame and fortune, pushes through all op- 
position, and is determined that what he thinks he has 
discovered shall not perish for want of a fair trial. 
And that this was the case with the practical intro- 
ducer of the screw propeller will be obvious from the 
following statement. 

Francis Pettit Smith was born at Hythe, in the 
county of Kent, in 1808. His father was postmaster of 
the town, and a person of much zeal and integrity. The 
boy was sent to school at Ashford, and there received 
a fair amount of education, under the Rev. Alexander 
Power. Young Smith displayed no special character- 
istic except a passion for constructing models of boats. 
When he reached manhood, he adopted the business of 
a grazing farmer on Romney Marsh. He afterwards 
removed to Hendon, north of London, where he had 

fo F^rti,-;* Pettti Smith. 

plenty "f water on which to try his model boats. The 
reservoir of the Old Welsh Harp was close at hand a 
place famous for its water-birds and wild-fowl. 

Smith made many models of boats, his vxperiments 
extending over many years. In 1834 he constructed a 
boat propelled by a wooden screw driven by a spring, 
the performance of which was thought extraordinary. 
A V here he had got his original idea is not known. It 
was floating about in many minds, and was no special 
secret. Smith, however, arrived at the conclusion that 
his method of propelling steam-vessels by means of a 
screw was much superior to paddles, at that time ex- 
clusively employed. In the following year, 1835, he 
constructed a superior model, with which he performed 
a number of experiments at Hendon. In May, 1836, 
he took out a patent for propelling vessels by means 
of a screw revolving beneath the water at the stern. 
He then operaly exhibited his invention at the Ade- 
laide Gallery, in London. Sir John Barrow, Secretary 
to the Admiralty, inspected the model, and was much 
impressed by its action. During the time it was pub- 
licly exhibited, an offer was made to purchase the in- 
vention for the Pacha of Egypt, but the offer was 

At this stage of his operations, Smith was joined by 
Mr. Wright, banker, and Mr. C. A. Caldwell, who had 
the penetration to perceive that the invention was one 
of much promise, and were desirous of helping its in- 
troduction to general use. They furnished him with 
the means of constructing a more complete model. In 
the autumn of 1836 a small steam-vessel of ten tons' 
burden and six-horse power was built, further to test 
the advantages of the invention. This boat was fitted 
with a wooden screw of two whole turns. On the 1st 
of November the vessel was exhibited to the public on 
the Paddington Canal, as well as on the Thames, where 

Trial-trips of Screw Propeller. 61 

she continued to ply until the month of September, 

During the trips upon the Thames a happy accident 
occurred, which first suggested the advantage of re- 
ducing the length of the screw. The propeller having 
struck upon some obstacle in the water, about one half 
of the length of the screw was broken off, and it was 
found that the vessel immediately shot ahead and at- 
tained a much greater speed than before. In conse- 
quence of this discovery, a new screw of a single turn 
was fitted to her, after which she was found to work 
much better. 

Having satisfied himself as to the eligibility of the 
propeller in smooth water, Mr. Smith then resolved to 
take his little vessel to the open sea, and breast the 
winds and the waves. Accordingly, one Saturday in 
the month of September, 1837, he proceeded in his 
miniature boat down the river, from Blackwall to 
Gravesend. There he, took a pilot on board, and went 
on to Ramsgate. He. passed through the Downs, and 
reached Dover in safety. A trial of the vessel's per- 
formance was made there in the presence of Mr. 
Wright, the banker, and Mr. Peake, the civil engi- 
neer. From Dover the vessel went on to Folkestone 
and Hythe, encountering severe weather. Neverthe- 
less, the boat behaved admirably, and attained a speed 
of over seven miles an hour. 

Though the weather had become stormy and bois- 
terous, the little vessel nevertheless set out on her re- 
turn voyage to London. Crowds of people assembled 
to witness her departure, and many nautical men 
watched her progress with solicitude as she steamed 
through the waves under the steep cliffs of the South 
Foreland. The courage of the undertaking, and the 
unexpected good performance of the little vessel, ren- 
dered her an object of great interest and excitement 

62 ( '<<j>tain John Ericsson. 

as she "screwed " her way along the coast. The tiny 
vessel n ached her destination in safety. Surely the 
difficulty of a testing trial, although with a model 
screw, had at length been overcome. But, no! The 
paddle still possessed the ascendency, and a thousand 
interests invested capital, use and wont, and conserv- 
ative instincts all stood in the way. 

Some years before indeed, about the time that 
Smith took out his patent Captain Ericsson, the 
Swede, invented a screw propeller. Smith took out 
his patent in May, 1836, and Ericsson in the following 
July. Ericsson was a born inventor. While a boy, 
in Sweden, he made sawmills and pumping -engines, 
with tools invented by himself. He learned to draw, 
and his mechanical career began. AVhen only twelve 
years old he was appointed a cadet in the Swedish 
corps of mechanical engineers, and in the following 
year he was put in charge of a section of the Gotha 
Ship Canal, then under construction. Arrived at man- 
hood, Ericsson went over to England, the great centre 
of mechanical industry. He was then twenty-three 
years old. He entered into partnership with John 
Braithwaite, and with him constructed the Novelty, 
which took part in the locomotive competition at 
Kalnhill on the 6th of October, 1829. The prize was 
awarded to Stephenson's Rocket on the 14th; but it 
was acknowledged by The Times of the day that the 
Novelty was Stephenson's sharpest competitor. 

Ericsson had a wonderfully inventive brain, a deter- 
mined purpose, and a great capacity for work. AVhen 
a want was felt, he was immediately ready with an 
invention. The records of the patent office show his 
incessant activity. He invented pumping - engines, 
steam-engines, fire-engines, and caloric-engines. His 
first patent for a " reciprocating propeller " was taken 
out in October, 1834. To exhibit its action, he had a 

The "Francis B. Ogden." 63 

small boat constructed of only about two feet length. 
It was propelled by means of a screw, and was shown 
at work in a circular bath in London. It performed 
its voyage round the basin at the rate of about three 
miles an hour. His patent for a "spiral propeller ' : 
was taken out in July, 1836. This was the invention 
to exhibit which he had a vessel constructed of about 
forty feet length, with two propellers, each of five feet 
three inches diameter. 

This boat, the Francis B. Ogden, proved extremely 
successful. She moved at a speed of about ten miles 
an hour. She was able to tow vessels of one hundred 
and forty tons' burden at the rate of seven miles an 
hour. Perceiving the peculiar and admirable fitness 
of the screw propeller for ships of war, Ericsson invited 
the lords of the admiralty to take an excursion in tow 
of his experimental boat. "My lords " consented; and 
the admiralty barge contained, on this occasion, Sir 
Charles Adam, Senior Lord, Sir William Symonds, Sur- 
veyor, Sir Edward Parry, of polar celebrity, Captain 
Beaufort, Hydrographer, and other men of distinction. 
This distinguished company embarked at Somerset 
House, and the little steamer, with her precious charge, 
proceeded down the river to Limehouse at the rate of 
about ten miles an hour. After visiting the steam- 
engine manufactory of Messrs. Seawood, where their 
lordships' favorite apparatus, the Morgan paddle-wheel, 
was in course of construction, they re-embarked, and 
returned in safety to Somerset House. 

The experiment was perfectly successful, and yet 
the result was disappointment. A few days later a 
letter from Captain Beaufort informed Mr. Ericsson 
that their lordships had certainly been "very much 
disappointed with the result of the experiment." The 
reason for the disappointment was altogether inexpli- 
cable to the inventor. It afterwards appeared, how- 

John Ericsson. 

ever, that Sir William Symonds, then Surveyor to the 
Navy, hal <-xpret -d the opinion that, "even if the 
propeller had the power of propelling a vessel, it would 
be found altogether useless in practice, because, the 
power being applied at the stern, it would be absolutely 
impossible to make the vessel steer!" It will be remem- 
bered that Francis Pettit Smith's screw vessel went to 
sea in the course of the same year, and not only faced 
the waves, but was made to steer in a perfectly suc- 
cessful manner. 

Although the lords of the admiralty would not fur- 
ther encourage the screw propeller of Ericsson, an offi- 
cer of the United States navy, Captain R. F. Stockton, 
was so satisfied of its success that, after making a sin- 
gle trip in the experimental steamboat from London 
Bridge to Greenwich, he ordered the inventor to build 
for him forthwith two iron boats for the United States, 
with steam machinery and a propeller on the same plan. 
One of these vessels the Robert F. Stockton seventy 
feet in length, was constructed by Laird & Co., of 
Birkenhead, in 1838, and left England for America in 
April, 1839. Captain Stockton so fully persuaded Er- 
icsson of his probable success in America that the 
inventor at once abandoned his professional engage- 
ments in England, and set out for the United States. 
It is unnecessary to mention the further important 
works of this great engineer. 

We may, however, briefly mention that, in 1844, 
Ericsson constructed for the United States government 
the Princeton screw steamer, though he was never paid 
for his time, labor, and expenditure.* L^ndeterred by 

* The story is told in Scribners Monthly Illustrated Magazine for 
April, 1879. Ericsson's modest bill was only $15,000 for two years' 
labor. He was put off from year to year, and at length the govern- 
ment refused to pay the amount. "The American government," 
says the editor of Scribner, "will not appropriate the money to pay 

Ericsson's Vessels. 65 

their ingratitude, Ericsson, nevertheless, constructed 
for the same government, when in the throes of civil 
war, the famous Monitor, the iron-clad cupola vessel, 
and was similarly rewarded! He afterwards invented 
the torpedo- ship, the Destroyer, the use of which has, 
fortunately, not yet been required in sea- warfare. Er- 
icsson still lives, constantly planning and scheming, in 
his house in Beach Street, New York. He is now over 
eighty years old, having been born in 1803. He is 
strong and healthy. How has he preserved his vigor- 
ous constitution ? The editor of Scribner gives the an- 
swer: "The hall windows of his house are open winter 
and summer, and none but open grate-fires are allowed. 
Insomnia never troubles him, for he falls asleep as soon 
as his head touches the pillow. His appetite and di- 
gestion are always good, and he has not lost a meal in 
ten years. What an example to the men who imagine 
it is hard work that is killing them in this career of 
unremitting industry!" 

To return to "Screw* 1 Smith, after the successful 
trial of his little vessel at sea in the autumn of 1837. 
He had many difficulties yet to contend with. There 
was, first, the difficulty of a new invention, and the 
fact that the paddle - boat had established itself in 
public estimation. The engineering and ship-building 
world were dead against him. They regarded the 
project of propelling a vessel by means of a screw as 
visionary and preposterous. There was also the official 
unwillingness to undertake anything novel, untried, 
and contrary to routine. There was the usual shaking 
of the head and the shrugging of the shoulders, as if 
the inventor were either a mere dreamer, or a projector 
eager to lay his hands upon the public purse. The 

it, and that is all. It is said to be the nature" of republics to be un- 
grateful; but must they also be dishonest?" 

CG Franks Pctt'd Smith. 

surveyor of the navy was opposed to the plan, because 
of the impossibility of making a vessel steer which 
was impelled from the stern. "Screw' 1 Smith bided 
his time ; he continued undaunted, and was determined 
to succeed. He labored steadily onward, maintaining 
his own faith unshaken, and upholding the faith of the 
gentlemen who had become associated with him in the 
prosecution of the invention. 

At the beginning of 1838 the lords of the admiralty 
requested Mr. Smith to allow his vessel to be tried un- 
der their inspection. Two trials were accordingly 
made, and they gave so much satisfaction that the 
adoption of the propeller for naval purposes was con- 
sidered as a not improbable contingency. Before de- 
ciding finally upon its adoption, the lords of the admi- 
ralty were anxious to see an experiment made with a 
vessel of not less than two hundred tons. Mr. Smith 
had not the means of accomplishing this by himself, 
but, with the improved prospects of the invention, cap- 
italists now came to his aid. One of the most effective 
and energetic of these was Mr. Henry Currie, banker; 
and, with the assistance of others, the " Ship Propeller 
Company ' was formed, and proceeded to erect the 
test-ship proposed by the admiralty. 

The result was the Archimedes, a wooden vessel of 
two hundred and thirty-seven tons' burden. She was 
designed by Mr. Pasco, laid down by Mr. Wimshurst, 
in the spring of 1838, was launched on the 18th of Oc- 
tober following, and made her first trip in May, 1839. 
She was fitted with a screw of one turn, placed in the 
dead wood, and propelled by a pair of engines of eigh- 
ty horse-power. The vessel was built under the per- 
suasion that her performance would be considered sat- 
isfactory if a speed was attained of four or five knots 
an hour, whereas her actual speed was nine and a half 
knots. The lords of the admiralty were invited to in- 

Success of the "Archimedes" 67 

spect the ship. At the second trial Sir Edward Parry, 
Sir William Symonds, Captain Basil Hall, and other 
distinguished persons were present. The results were 
again satisfactory. The success of the Archimedes as- 
tonished the engineering world. Even the surveyor 
of the royal navy found that the vessel could steer! 
The lords of the admiralty could no longer shut their 
eyes. But the invention could not at once be adopted. 
It must be tested by the best judges. The vessel was 
sent to Dover, to be tried with the best packets be- 
tween Dover and Calais. Mr. Lloyd, the chief-engi- 
neer of the navy, conducted the investigation, and 
reported most favorably as to the manner of her per- 
formance. Yet several years elapsed before the screw 
was introduced into the service. 

In 1840 the Archimedes was placed at the disposal 
of Captain Chappell, of the royal navy, who, accom- 
panied by Mr. Smith, visited every principal port in 
Great Britain. She was thus seen by ship-owners, 
marine engineers, and ship-builders in every part of 
the kingdom. They regarded her with wonder and 
admiration; yet the new mode of navigation was not 
speedily adopted. The paddle-wheel still held its own. 
The sentiment, if not the plant and capital, of the en- 
gineering world, were against the introduction of the 
screw. After the vessel had returned from her cir- 
cumnavigation of Great Britain, she was sent to Opor- 
to, and performed the voyage in sixty-eight and a half 
hours, then held to be the quickest voyage on record. 
She was then sent to the Texel, at the request of the 
Dutch government. She went through the North Hol- 
land Canal, visited Amsterdam, Antwerp, and other 
ports, and everywhere left the impression that the 
screw was an efficient and reliable power in the pro- 
pulsion of vessels at sea. 

Ship-builders, however, continued to "fight shy" of 

C 8 Fran cis Pctt it Sm ith . 

tlu- screw. The late Isambard Kintnlon JJriinel is on- 


litlrd ID the credit of having first directed the atten- 
tion t't' ship-builders to this important invention. lie 
was himself a man of original views, free from, bias, 
and always ready to strike out a fresh path in engi- 
neering works. He was building a large new iron 
steamer at Bristol, the Great Britain, for passenger 
traffic between England and America. He had in- 
tended to construct her as a paddle-steamer, but, hear- 
ing of the success of the Archimedes, he inspected the 
vessel, and was so satisfied with the performance of 
the screw that he recommended his directors to adopt 
this method for propelling the Great Britain. His 
advice was adopted, and the vessel was altered so as 
to adapt her for the reception of the screw. The ves- 
sel was found perfectly successful, and on her first 
voyage to London she attained the speed of ten knots 
an hour, though the wind and balance of tides were 
against her. A few other merchant-ships were built 
and fitted with the screw: the Princess Royal, at New- 
castle, in 1840; the ^Margaret and Senator, at Hull, and 
the Great Northern, at Londonderry, in 1841. 

The lords of the admiralty made slow progress in 


adopting the screw for the royal navy. Sir William 
Symonds, the surveyor and principal designer of her 
majesty's ships, was opposed to all new projects. He 
hated steam-power, and was utterly opposed to iron 
ships. He speaks of them in his journal as "mon- 
strous." * So long as he remained in office everything 
was done in a perfunctory way. A small vessel named 
the Bee was built at Chatham, in 1841, and fitted with 
both paddles and the screw, for the purpose of experi- 
ment. In the same vear the Rattler, the first screw 


* "Memoirs of the Life and Services of Rear-admiral Sir William 
Symonds, Kt.,"p. 332. 

Experiments with the Screw. 69 

vessel built for the navy, was laid down at Sheerness. 
Although of only eight hundred and eighty-eight tons' 
burden, she was not launched until the spring of 1843. 
She was then fitted with the same kind of screw as the 
Archimedes, that is, a double-headed screw of half a 
convolution. Experiments went on for about three 
years, so as to determine the best proportions of the 
screw; and the proportions then ascertained have since 
been the principal guide of engineering practice. 

The Rattler was at length tried in a water tourna- 
ment with the paddle-steamer Alecto, and signally de- 
feated her. Francis Pettit Smith, like Gulliver, may 
be said to have dragged the whole British fleet after 
him. Were the paddle our only means of propulsion, 
our whole naval force would be reduced to a nullitv. 


Hostile gunners would wing a paddle steamer as effect- 
ually as a sportsman wings a bird, and all the plating 
in the world would render such a ship a mere helpless 
log on the water. 

The admiralty could no longer defer the use of this 
important invention. Like all good things, it made 
its way slowly and by degrees. The royal naval au- 
thorities, who, in 1833, backed the side-paddles, have 
since adopted the screw in most of the ships of war. 
In all long sea-going voyages, also, the screw is now the 
favorite mode of propulsion. Screw ships of prodi- 
gious size are now built and launched in all the ship- 
building ports of Britain, and are sent out to navigate 
in every part of the world. The introduction of iron 
as the material for ship-building has immensely ad- 
vanced the interests of steam navigation, as it enables 
the builders to construct vessels of great size with the 
finest lines, so as to attain the highest rates of speed. 

One might have supposed that Francis Pettit Smith 
would derive some substantial benefit from his inven- 
tion, or, at least, that the Ship Propeller Company 

70 Francis Pettit Smith. 

distribute large dividends among their pmpri- 
ctors. Nothing of the kind. Smith spent his money, 
liis labor, and his ingenuity in conferring a great pub- 
lic benefit, without receiving any adequate reward; 
and the company, instead of distributing dividends, 
lost about 50,000 in introducing this great invention; 
after which, in 1856, the patent-right expired. Three 
hundred and twenty-seven ships and vessels of all cla--- 
es in the royal navy had then been fitted with the 
screw propeller, and a much larger number in the 
merchant service; but since that time the number of 
screw propellers constructed is to be counted by thou- 

In his comparatively impoverished condition it was 
found necessary to do something for the inventor. 
The civil engineers, with Robert Stephenson, M. P., in 
the chair, entertained him at a dinner, and presented 
him with a handsome salver and claret-jug. And, that 
he might have something to put upon his salver and 
into his claret-jug, a number of his friends and admir- 
ers subscribed over 2000 as a testimonial. The gov- 
ernment appointed him curator of the Patent Museum 
at South Kensington; the queen granted him a pen- 
sion on the civil list for 200 a year, he was raised 
to the honor of knighthood in 1871, and three years 
later he died. 

Francis Pettit Smith was not a great inventor. He 
had, like many others, invented a screw propeller. 
But, while those others had given up the idea of pros- 
ecuting it to its completion, Smith stuck to his inven- 
tion with determined tenacity, and never let it go until 
he had secured for it a complete triumph. As Mr. 
Stephenson observed at the engineers' meeting: "Mr. 
Smith has worked from a platform which might have 
been raised by others, as Watt had done, and as other 
great men had done; but he had made a stride in ad- 

Smith Compared with Arkwright. 71 

vance which was almost tantamount to a new inven- 
tion. It was impossible to overrate the advantages 
which this and other countries had derived from his 
untiring and devoted patience in prosecuting the in- 
vention to a successful issue." Baron Charles Dupin 
compared the farmer Smith with the barber Arkwright: 
"He had the same perseverance and the same indom- 
itable courage. These two moral qualities enabled him 
to triumph over every obstacle." This was the great 
merit of "Screw" Smith that he was determined to 
realize what his predecessors had dreamed of achiev- 
ing; and he eventually accomplished his great purpose. 



"No man knows who invented the mariner's compass, or who 
first hollowed out a canoe from a log. The power to observe accu- 
rately the sun, moon, and planets, so as to fix a vessel's actual posi- 
tion when far out of sight of land, enabling long voyages to be safely 
made ; the marvellous improvements in ship-building, which short- 
ened passages by sailing vessels, and vastly reduced freights even be- 
fore steam gave an independent force to the carrier each and all 
were done by small advances, which together contributed to the gen- 
eral movement of mankind. . . . Each owes all to the others. The 
forgotten inventors live forever in the usefulness of the work they 
have done and the progress they have striven for." H. M. HYND- 

ONE of the most extraordinary things connected 
with applied science is the method by which the navi- 
gator is enabled to find the exact spot of sea on which 
his ship rides. There may be nothing but water and 
sky within his view; he may be in the midst of the 
ocean, or gradually nearing the land; the curvature of 
the globe baffles the search of his telescope; but if he 
have a correct chronometer, and can make an astro- 
nomical observation, he may readily ascertain his lon- 
gitude, and know his approximate position how far 
he is from home, as well as from his intended destina- 
tion. He is even enabled, at some special place, to 

* Originally published in Longman's Magazine, but now rewritten 
aud enlarged. 

Use of Practical Astronomy. 73 

send down his grappling-irons into the sea, and pick 
tip an electrical cable for examination and repair. 

This is the result of a knowledge of practical as- 
tronomy. " Place an astronomer," says Mr. Newcomb, 
"on board a ship; blindfold him; carry him by any 
route to any ocean on the globe, whether under the 
tropics or in one of the frigid zones; land him on the 
wildest rock that can be found; remove his bandage, 
and give him a chronometer regulated to Greenwich 
or Washington time, a transit instrument with the 
proper appliances, and the necessary books and tables, 
and in a single clear night he can tell his position with- 
in a hundred yards by observations of the stars. This, 
from a utilitarian point of view, is one of the most 
important operations of practical astronomy." * 

The marine chronometer was the outcome of the 
crying want of the sixteenth century for an instru- 
ment that should assist the navigator to find his longi- 
tude on the pathless ocean. Spain was then the prin- 
cipal naval power; she was the most potent monarchy 
in Europe, and held half America under her sway. 
Philip III. offered 100,000 crowns for any discovery by 
means of which the longitude might be determined by 
a better method than by the log, which was found very 
defective. Holland next became a great naval power, 
and followed the example of Spain in offering 30,000 
florins for a similar discovery. But, though some ef- 
forts were made, nothing practical was done, principal- 
ly through the defective state of astronomical instru- 
ments. England succeeded Spain and Holland as a 
naval power ; and when Charles II. established the 
Greenwich Observatory, it was made a special point 
that Flamsteed, the astronomer-royal, should direct his 

* "Popular Astronomy." By Simon Newcomb, LL.D., Professor 
U. S. Naval Observatory. 



t<> tin- perfecting of a method for find- 
ing the longitude bv astronomical observation-. But 


though Flamsteed, together with Ilallay and Newton, 
made some progress, they were prevented from ob- 
taining ultimate success by the want of efficient chro- 
nometers and the defective nature of astronomical in- 

Nothing was done until the reign of Queen Anne, 
when a petition was presented to the Legislature on 
the 25th of May, 1714, by "several captains of her 
majesty's ships, merchants in London, and command- 
ers of merchantmen, in behalf of themselves, and of all 
others concerned in the navigation of Great Britain," 

o * 

setting forth the importance of the accurate discovery 
of the longitude, and the inconvenience and danger to 
which ships were subjected from the want of some 
suitable method of discovering it. The petition was 
referred to a committee, which took evidence on the 
subject. It appears that Sir Isaac Xewton, with his 
extraordinary sagacity, hit the mark in his report. 
" One is," he said, " by a watch to keep time exactly; 
but, by reason of the motion of a ship, and the variation 
of heat and cold, wet and dry, and the difference of 
gravity in different latitudes, such a watch hath not yet 
been made" 

An act was, however, passed in the session of 1714, 
offering a very large public reward to inventors : 
10,000 to any one who should discover a method of 
determining the longitude to one degree of a great 
circle, or sixty geographical miles ; 15,000 if it deter- 
mined the same to two thirds of that distance, or forty 
geographical miles ; and 20,000 if it determined the 
same to one half of the same distance, or thirty geo- 
graphical miles. Commissioners were appointed by 
the same act, who were instructed that " one moiety 
or half part of such reward shall be due and paid when 

Experiments in Watchmaking. 75 

the said commissioners, or the major part of them, do 
agree that any such method extends to the security of 
ships within eighty geographical miles of the shore, 
which are places of the greatest danger; and the other 
moiety or half part when a ship, by the appointment of 
the said commissioners, or the major part of them, 
shall actually sail over the ocean from Great Britain 
to any such port in the West Indies as those commis- 
sioners, or the major part of them, shall choose or 
nominate for the experiment, without losing the longi- 
tude beyond the limits before mentioned." 

The terms of this offer indicate how great must have 
been the risk and inconvenience which it was desired 
to remedy. Indeed, it is almost inconceivable that a 
reward so great could be held out for a method which 
would merely afford security within eighty geographi- 
cal miles ! 

This splendid reward for a method of discovering 
the longitude was offered to the world to inventors 
and scientific men of all countries without restriction 
of race, or nation, or language. As might naturally be 
expected, the prospect of obtaining it stimulated many 
ingenious men to make suggestions and contrive exper- 
iments; but for many years the successful construction 
of a marine time-keeper seemed almost hopeless. At 
length, to the surprise of every one, the prize was won 
by a village carpenter a person of no school, or uni- 
versity, or college whatever. 

Even so distinguished an artist and philosopher as 
Sir Christopher Wren was engaged, as late in his life 
as the year 1720, in attempting to solve this important 
problem. As has been observed, in the memoir of him 
contained in the "Biographia Britannica,"* "This no- 

* "Biographia Britannica," vol. vi. part 2, p. 4375. This volume 
was published in 1766, before the final reward had been granted to 

7<*> John ILtrrtson. 

invention, like some others of tlie most useful ones 
to human life, seems to be reserved for the peculiar 
L r l ( >ry of an ordinary mechanic, who, by indefatigable 
industry, under the guidance of no ordinary sagacity, 
hath seemingly at last surmounted all difficulties, and 
brought it to a most unexpected degree of perfection." 
Where learning and science failed, natural genius 
seems to have triumphed. 

The truth is, that the great mechanic, like the great 
poet, is born, not made ; and John Harrison, the win- 
ner of the famous prize, was a born mechanic. He 
did not, however, accomplish his object without the 
exercise of the greatest skill, patience, and persever- 
ance. His eiforts were long, laborious, and sometimes 
apparently hopeless. Indeed, his life, so far as we can 
ascertain the facts, affords one of the finest examples 
of difficulties encountered and triumphantly overcome, 
and of undaunted perseverance eventually crowned by 
success, which is to be found in the whole range of 

No complete narrative of Harrison's career was ever 
written. Only a short notice of him appears in the 
"Biographia Britannica," published in 1766, during 
his lifetime the facts of which were obtained from 
himself. A few notices of him appear in the Annual 
Itegister, also published during his lifetime. The final 
notice appeared in the volume published in 1777, the 
year after his death. ISTo life of him has since ap- 
peared. Had he been a destructive hero, and fought 
battles by land or sea, we should have had biographies 
of him without end. But he pursued a more peaceful 
and industrious course. His discovery conferred an 
incalculable advantage on navigation, and enabled in- 
numerable lives to be saved at sea; it also added to 
the domains of science by its more exact measurement 
of time. But his memory has been allowed to pass 

His Childhood and Youth. 77 

silently away, without any record being left for the 
benefit and advantage of those who have succeeded 
him. The following memoir includes nearly all that 
is known of the life and labors of John Harrison. 

He was born at Foulby, in the parish of Wragby, 
near Pontefract, Yorkshire, in May, 1693. His father, 
Henry Harrison, was carpenter and joiner to Sir Row- 
land Wynne, owner of the Nostel Priory estate. The 
present house was built by the baronet on the site of 
the ancient priory. Henry Harrison was a sort of re- 
tainer of the family, and he long continued in their 

Little is known of the boy's education. It was cer- 
tainly of a very inferior description. Like George 
Stephenson, Harrison had always a great difficulty in 
making himself understood, either in speech or writing. 
Indeed, every board-school boy receives a better educa- 
tion now than John Harrison did a hundred and eighty 
years ago. But education does not altogether come by 
reading and writing. The boy was possessed of vigor- 
ous natural abilities. He was especially attracted by 
every machine that moved upon wheels. The boy was 
" father to the man." When six years old, and lying 
sick of small-pox, a going watch was placed upon his 
pillow, which afforded him infinite delight. 

When seven years old he was taken by his father to 
Barrow, near Barton-on-Humber, where Sir Rowland 
Wynne had another residence and estate. Henry Har- 
rison was still acting as the baronet's carpenter and 
joiner. In course of time young Harrison joined his 
father in the workshop, and proved of great use to 
him. His opportunities for acquiring knowledge were 
still very few, but he applied his powers of observation 
and his workmanship upon the things which were 
nearest him. He worked in wood, and to wood he first 
turned his attention. 

7S John 

lie was still fond of machines going upon wheels. 
lie had enjoyed the sight of the big watch going upon 
brass wheels when he was a boy; but, now that he was 
a workman in wood, he proposed to make an eight-da v 
clock, with wheels of that material. He made this 
clock when he was only twenty-two years old, so that 
he must have made diligent use of his opportunities. 
He had, of course, difficulties to encounter, and nothing 
can be accomplished without them; for it is difficulties 
that train the habits of application and perseverance. 
But he succeeded in making an effective clock, which 
counted the time with regularity. This clock is still 
in existence. It is to be seen at the Museum of Patents, 
South Kensington; and when we visited it a few 
months ago it was going, and still marking the mo- 
ments as they passed. It is contained in a case about 
six feet high, with a glass front, showing a pendulum 
and two weights. Over the clock is the folio win o- in- 

<-> o 

scription : 

"This clock was made at Bnrro\v, Lincolnshire, in the year 171T>, 
by John Harrison, celebrated as the inventor of a nautical timepiece, 
or chronometer, which gained the reward of 20,000 offered by the 
Board of Longitude, A.D. 17G7.* 

"This clock strikes the hour, indicates the day of the month, and, 
with one exception (the escapement) the wheels are entirely made of 

This, however, was only a beginning. Harrison pro- 
ceeded to make better clocks ; and then he found it 
necessary to introduce metal, which was more lasting. 
He made pivots of brass, which moved more conven- 
iently in sockets of wood with the use of oil. He also 
caused the teeth of his wheels to run against cvlin- 


drical rollers of wood, fixed by brass pins, at a proper 
distance from the axis of the pinions ; and thus to a 

* This date is not correct, as will be found in the subsequent state- 

The Compensation Pendulum. 79 

considerable extent removed the inconveniences of 

In the meantime Harrison eagerly improved every 
incident from which he might derive further informa- 
tion. There was a clergyman who came every Sunday 
to the village to officiate in the neighborhood; and 
having heard of the sedulous application of the young 
carpenter, he lent him a manuscript copy of Professor 
Saunderson's discourses. That blind professor had pre- 
pared several lectures on natural philosophy for the use 
of his students, though they were not intended for pub- 
lication. Young Harrison now proceeded to copy them 
out, together with the diagrams. Sometimes, indeed, 
he spent the greater part of the night in writing or 

As part of his business he undertook to survey land, 
and to repair clocks and watches, besides carrying on 
his trade of a carpenter. He soon obtained a consider- 
able knowledge of what had been done in clocks and 
watches, and was able to do not only what the best 
professional workers had done, but to strike out entire- 
ly new lights in the clock and watch making business. 
He found out a method of diminishing friction by add- 
ing a joint to the pallets of the pendulum, whereby 
they were made to work in the nature of rollers of a 
large radius, without any sliding, as usual, upon the 
teeth of the wheel. He constructed a clock on the re- 
coiling principle, which went perfectly, and never lost 
a minute within fourteen years. Sir Edmund Denison 
Beckett says that he invented this method in order to 
save himself the trouble of going so frequently to oil 
the escapement of a turret clock, of which he had 
charge ; though there were other influences at work 
besides this. 

But his most important invention, at this early period 
of his life, was his compensation pendulum. Every 

SO John Harris m. 

knows that metals expand with heat ami contract 
cold. The- pendulum of tlic clock, therefore, ex- 
panded in summer and contracted in winter, thereby 
interfering with the regular going of the clock. Iluy- 
gens had by his cylindrical checks removed the great 
irregularity arising from the unequal lengths of the 
oscillations; but the pendulum was affected by the 
tossing of a ship at sea, and was also subject to a vari- 
tion in weight, depending 011 the parallel of latitude. 
Graham, the well-known clockmaker, invented the mer- 
curial compensation pendulum, consisting of a glass or 
iron jar filled with quicksilver and fixed to the end of 
the pendulum rod. AVhen the rod was lengthened by 
heat, the quicksilver and the jar Avhich contained it 
were simultaneously expanded and elevated, and the 
centre of oscillation was thus continued at the same 
distance from the point of suspension. 

But the difficulty, to a certain extent, remained un- 
conquered until Harrison took the matter in hand. 
He observed that all rods of metal do not alter their 
lengths equally by heat, or, on the contrary, become 
shorter by cold, but some more sensibly than others. 
After innumerable experiments Harrison at length 
composed a frame somewhat resembling a gridiron, in 
which the alternate bars were of steel and of brass, 
and so arranged that those which expanded the most 
were counteracted by those which expanded the least. 
By this means the pendulum contained the power of 
equalizing its own action, and the centre of oscillation 
continued at the same absolute distance from the point 
of suspension through all the variations of heat and 
cold during the year.* 

* Harrison's compensation pendulum was afterwards improved by 
Arnold, Earnshaw, and other English makers. Dent's prismatic bal- 
ance is now considered the best. 

The Chronometer. 81 

Thus by the year 1726, when he was only thirty- 
three years old, Harrison had furnished himself with 
two compensation clocks, in which all the irregularities 
to which these machines were subject were either re- 
moved or so happily balanced, one metal against the 
other, that the two clocks kept time together in differ- 
ent parts of his house, without the variation of more 
than a single second in the month. One of them, in- 
deed, which he kept by him for his own use, and con- 
stantly compared with a fixed star, did not vary so 
much as one whole minute during the ten years that 
he continued in the country after finishing the ma- 

Living, as he did, not far from the sea, Harrison 
next endeavored to arrange his timekeeper for pur- 
poses of navigation. He tried his clock in a vessel be- 
longing to Barton-on-Humber ; but his compensating 
pendulum could there be of comparatively little use, 
for it was liable to be tossed hither or thither by the 
sudden motions of the ship. He found it necessary, 
therefore, to mount a chronometer, or portable time- 
keeper, which might be taken from place to place, and 
subjected to the violent and irregular motion of a ship 
at sea without affecting its rate of going. It was evi- 
dent to him that the first mover must be changed from 
a weight and pendulum to a spring wound tip and a 
compensating balance. 

He now applied his genius in this direction. After 
pondering over the subject, he proceeded to London 
in 1728, and exhibited his drawings to Dr. Halley, 
then astronomer-royal. The doctor referred him to 
Mr. George Graham, the distinguished horologer, in- 
ventor of the dead-beat escapement and the mercurial 

* See Mr. Folke's speech to the Royal Society, 30th of November, 


82 Jt'Jm IIiirr't*nn. 

pendulum. After examining the drawings and hold- 
ing some converse with Harrison, Graham pen-rived 
liim to be a man of uncommon merit, and gave liini 
every encouragement. He recommended him, how- 
over, to make his machine before again applying to the 
Board of Longitude. Harrison returned home to Har- 
row to complete his task, and many years elapsed be- 
fore he again appeared in London to present his first. 

The remarkable success which Harrison had achieved 
in his compensating pendulum could not but urge him 
on to further experiments. He was, no doubt, to a cer- 
tain extent, influenced by the reward of 20,000 which 
the English government had offered for an instrument 
that should enable the longitude to be more accurately 
determined by navigators at sea than was then possi- 
ble ; and it was with the object of obtaining pecuniary 
assistance to assist him in completing his chronometer 
that Harrison had, in 1*728, made his first visit to Lon- 
don to exhibit his drawings. 

The act of Parliament offering the superb reward 
was passed in 1714, fourteen years before, but no at- 
tempt had been made to claim it. It was right that 
England, then rapidly advancing to the first position 
as a commercial nation, should make every effort to 
render navigation less hazardous. Before correct chro- 
nometers were invented, or good lunar tables were pre- 
pared,* the ship, when fairly at sea, out of sight of 
land, and battling with the winds and tides, was in a 
measure lost. No method existed for accurately ascer- 


taining the longitude. The ship might be out of its 
course for one or two hundred miles for anything that 

* No trustworthy lunar tables existed at that time. It was not until 
the year 1753 that Tobias Mayer, a German, published the first lunar 
tables which could be relied upon. For this, the British government 
afterwards awarded to Mover's widow the sum of 5000. 

The Sextant. 83 

the navigator knew; and only the wreck of his ship on 
some unknown coast told of the mistake that he had 
made in his reckoning. 

It may here be mentioned that it was comparatively 
easy to determine the latitude of a ship at sea every 
dav when the sun was visible. The latitude that is. 


the distance of any spot from the equator and the pole 
might be found by a simple observation with the sex- 
tant. The altitude of the sun at noon is found, and by 
a short calculation the position of the ship can be as- 

The sextant, which is the instrument universally 
used at sea, was gradually evolved from similar instru- 
ments used from the earliest times. The object of 
this instrument has always been to find the angular 
distance between two bodies that is to say, the angle 
of two straight lines which are drawn from those bod- 
ies to meet in the observer's eye. The simplest instru- 
ment of this kind may be well represented by a pair 
of compasses. If the hinge is held to the eye, one leg 
pointed to the distant horizon, and the other leg point- 
ed to the sun, the two legs will be the angular distance 
of the sun from the horizon at the moment of obser- 

Until the end of the seventeenth century the in- 
strument used was of this simple kind. It was gener- 
ally a large quadrant, with one or two bars moving on 
a hinge to all intents and purposes a huge pair of 
compasses. The direction of the sight was fixed by 
the use of a slit and a pointer, much as in the ordinary 
rifle. This instrument was vastly improved by the use 
of a telescope, which not only allowed fainter objects 
to be seen, but especially enabled the sight to be accu- 
rately directed to the object observed. 

The instruments of the pretelescopic age reached 
their glory in the hands of Tycho Brahe. He used 

84: John Harrison. 

magnificent instruments of the simple "pair of coiu- 
p:i-ses" kind circles, quadrants, ami sextants. These 
were, for the most part, ponderous fixed instruments, 
of little or no use for the purposes of navigation. But 
Tycho Brahe's sextant proved the forerunner of the 
modern instrument. The general structure is the same; 
but the vast improvement of the modern sextant is due, 
firstly, to the use of the reflecting mirror, and, second- 
ly, to the use of the telescope for accurate sighting. 
These improvements were due to many scientific men 
to William Gascoigne, who first used the telescope, 
about 1640; to Robert Hooke, who, in 1660, proposed 
to apply it to the quadrant; to Sir Isaac Newton, who 
designed a reflecting quadrant;* and to John Iladley, 
who introduced it. The modern sextant is merely a 
modification of Newton's or Hadley's quadrant, and 
its present construction seems to be perfect. 

It therefore became possible accurately to determine 
the position of a ship at sea as regarded its latitude. 
But it was quite different as regarded the longitude; 
that is, the distance of any place from a given meri- 
dian, eastward or westward. In the case of longitude, 
there is no fixed spot to which reference can be made. 
The rotation of the earth makes the existence of such 
a spot impossible. The question of longitude is purely 
a question of TIME. The circuit of the globe, east and 
west, is simply represented by twenty -four hours. 
Each place has its own time. It is very easy to deter- 
mine the local time at any spot by observations made 
at that spot. But, as time is always changing, the 

* Sir Isaac Newton gave his design to Edmund Halley, then as- 
tronomer-royal. Halley laid it on one side, and it was found among 
his papers after his death, in 1742, twenty-five years after the death 
of Newton. A similar omission was made by Sir G. IB. Airey, which 
led to the discovery of Neptune being attributed to Leverrier instead 
of to Adams. 

Methods of Obtaining Longitude. 85 

knowledge of the local time gives no idea of the act- 
ual position; and still less of a moving object say, of 
a ship at sea. But if, in any locality, we know the 
local time, and also the local time of some other local- 
ity at that moment say, of the observatory at Green- 
wich we can, by comparing the two local times, de- 
termine the difference of local times, or, what is the 
same thing, the difference of longitude between the 
two places. It was necessary, therefore, for the navi- 
gator to be in possession of a first-rate watch, or chro- 
nometer, to enable him to determine accurately the po- 
sition of his ship at sea, as respected the longitude. 

Before the middle of the eighteenth century good 
watches were comparatively unknown. The navigator 
mainly relied, for his approximate longitude, upon his 
dead reckoning, without any observation of the heav- 
enly bodies. He depended upon the accuracy of the 
course which he had steered by the compass, and the 
mensuration of the ship's velocity by an instrument 
called the log, as well as by combining and rectify- 
ing all the allowances for drift, lee-way, and so on, ac- 
cording to the trim of the ship; but all of these were 
liable to much uncertainty, especially when the sea 
was in a boisterous condition. There was another and 
independent course which might have been adopted, 
that is, by observation of the moon, which is constant- 
ly moving among the stars from w r est to east. But, 
until the middle of the eighteenth century, good lunar 
tables were as much unknown as good watches. 

Hence a method of ascertaining the longitude, with 
the same degree of accuracy which is attainable in re- 
spect of latitude, had for ages been the grand deside- 
ratum of men "who go down to the sea in ships." 
Mr. Macpherson, in his important work entitled " The 
Annals of Commerce," observes, " Since the year 1714, 
when Parliament offered a reward of 20,000 for the 

86 John Harrison. 

t method of ascertaining the longitude at sea, many 
schemes have lu-eii drvisi-d, but all to little or no pur- 
pose, as going generally upon wrong principles, till that 
heaven-taught artist, Mr. John Harrison, arose;" and 
by him, as Mr. Macpherson goes on to say, the difficulty 
was conquered, having devoted to it "the assiduous 
studies of a long life." 

The preamble of the act of Parliament in question 
runs as follows: " Whereas it is well known by all that 
are acquainted with the art of navigation that nothing 
is so much wanted and desired at sea as the discovery 
of the longitude, for the safety and quickness of voy- 
ages, the preservation of ships, and the lives of men," 
and so on. The act proceeds to constitute certain per- 
sons commissioners for the discovery of the longitude, 
with power to receive and experiment upon proposals 
for that purpose, and to grant sums of money not ex- 
ceeding 2000 to aid in such experiments. It will be 
remembered, from what has been above stated, that a 
reward of 10,000 was to be given to the person who 
should - :. f nve a method of determining the longitude 

o o * 

within one degree of a great circle, or sixty geograph- 
ical miles; 15,000 within forty geographical miles; 
and 20,000 within thirty geographical miles. 

It will, in these days, be scarcely believed that little 
more than a hundred and fifty years ago a prize of not- 
less than ten thousand pounds should have been offered 
for a method of determining the longitude within sixty 
miles, and that double the amount should have been 
offered for a method of determining it within thirty 
miles ! The amount of these rewards is sufficient 
proof of the fearful necessity for improvement which 
then existed in the methods of navigation. And yet, 
from the date of the passing of the act in 1714 until 
the year 1736, when Harrison finished his first time- 
piece, nothing had been done towards ascertaining the 

His Tools and Materials. 87 

longitude more accurately, even within the wide limits 
specified by the act of Parliament. Although several 
schemes had been projected, none of them had proved 
successful, and the offered rewards therefore still re- 
mained unclaimed. 

To return to Harrison. After reaching his home at 
Barrow, after his visit to London in 1728, he began 
his experiments for the construction of a marine chro- 
nometer. The task was one of no small difficulty. It 
was necessary to provide against irregularities arising 
from the motion of a ship at sea, and to obviate the 
effect of alternations of temperature in the machine 
itself, as well as the oil with which it was lubricated. 
A thousand obstacles presented themselves, but they 
were not enough to deter Harrison from grappling 
with the work he had set himself to perform. 

Every one knows the beautiful machinery of a time- 
piece, and the perfect tools required to produce such 
a machine. Some of these tools Harrison procured in 
London, but the greater number he provided for him- 
self, and many entirely new adaptations were required 
for his chronometer. As wood could no lonsrer be ex- 


clusively employed, as in his first clock, he had to teach 
himself to work accurately and minutely in brass and 
other metals. Having been unable to obtain any as- 
sistance from the Board of Longitude, he was under 
the necessity, while carrying forward his experiments, 
of maintaining himself by still working at his trade of 
a carpenter and joiner. This will account for the very 
long period that elapsed before he could bring his chro- 
nometer to such a state as that it might be tried with 
any approach to certainty in its operations. 

Harrison, besides his intentness and earnestness, was 
a cheerful and hopeful man. He had a fine taste for 
music, and organized and led the choir of the village 
church, which attained a high degree of perfection. 


lie invented :i curious monochord, which was not 1< 
accurate than liis clocks in tin- mensuration <f time. 
His car was distressed by the ringing of hells out of 
tune, and lie set himself to remedy them. At the par- 
ish church of Hull, for instance, the bells were hai>h 
and disagreeable, and, by the authority of the vicar 
and churchwardens, he was allowed to put them into 
a state of exact tune, so that they proved entirely me- 

But the great work of his life was his marine chro- 
nometer, lie found it necessary, in the first place, to 
alter the first mover of his clock to a spring wound up, 
so that the regularity of the motion might be derived 
from the vibrations of balances, instead of those of a 
pendulum as in a standing clock. Mr. Folkes, Presi- 
dent of the Royal Society, when presenting the gold 
medal to Harrison, in 1749, thus describes the arrange- 
ment of his new machine. The details were obtained 
from Harrison himself, who was present. He had 
made use of two balances situated in the same plane, 
but vibrating in contrary directions, so that the one of 
these being either way assisted by the tossing of the 
ship, the other might constantly be just so much im- 
peded by it at the same time. As the equality of the 
times of the vibrations of the balance of a pocket-watch 
is in a great measure owing to the spiral spring that 
lies under it, so the same was here performed by the 
like elasticity of four cylindrical springs or worms, ap- 
plied near the upper and lower extremities of the two 
balances above described. 

Then came in the question of compensation. Harri- 
son's experience with the compensation pendulum of 
his clock now proved of service to him. He had pro- 
ceeded to introduce a similar expedient in his proposed 
chronometer. As is well known to those who are ac- 
quainted with the nature of springs moved by balances, 

The " Thermometer Kirb? 89 

the stronger those springs are the quicker the vibra- 
tions of the balances are performed, and vice versa / 
hence it follows that those springs, when braced by 
cold, or when relaxed by heat, must of necessity cause 
the timekeeper to go either faster or slower, unless 
some method could be found to remedy the inconven- 

The method adopted by Harrison was his compensa- 
tion balance, doubtless the backbone of his invention. 
His "thermometer kirb," he himself says, "is com- 
posed of two thin plates of brass and steel, riveted to- 
gether in several places, which, by the greater expan- 
sion of brass than steel by heat and contraction by 
cold, becomes convex on the brass side in hot weather 
and convex on the steel side in cold weather; whence, 
one end being fixed, the other end obtains a motion 
corresponding with the changes of heat and cold, and 
the two pins at the end, between which the balance- 
spring passes, and which it alternately touches as the 
spring bends and unbends itself, will shorten or length- 
en the spring, as the change of heat or cold would oth- 
erwise require to be done by hand in the manner used 
for regulating a common watch." Although the meth- 
od has since been improved upon by Leroy, Arnold, 
and Earnshaw, it was the beginning of all that has 
since been done in the perfection of marine chronome- 
ters. Indeed, it is amazing to think of the number of 
clever, skilful, and industrious men who have been en- 
gaged for many hundred years in the production of 
that exquisite fabric so useful to everybody, whether 
scientific or otherwise, on land or sea the modern 

It is unnecessary here to mention in detail the par- 
ticulars of Harrison's invention. These were pub- 
lished by himself, in his " Principles of Mr. Harrison's 
Timekeeper." It may, however, be mentioned that he 

90 John Harrison. 

invented a method by which the chronometer might 
be kept going without losing any portion of time. 
This was during the process of winding up, which was 
done once in a day. While the mainspring was being 
wound up, a secondary one preserved the motion of the 
wheels, and kept the machine going. 

After seven years' labor, during which Harrison en- 
countered and overcame numerous difficulties, he at 
last completed ]iis first marine chronometer. He placed 
it in a sort of movable frame, somewhat resembling 
what the sailors call a "compass jumble," but much 
more artificially and curiously made and arranged. In 
this state the chronometer was tried from time to time 
in a large barge on the River Humber, in rough as well 
as in smooth weather, and it was found to go perfectly, 
without losing a moment of time. 

Such was the condition of Harrison's chronometer 
when he arrived with it in London, in 1735, in order 
to apply to the commissioners appointed for providing 
a public reward for the discovery of the longitude at 
sea. He first showed it to several members of the 
Royal Society, who cordially approved of it. Five 
of the most prominent members Dr. Halley, Dr. 
Smith, Dr. Bradley, Mr. John Machin, and Mr. George 
Graham furnished Harrison with a certificate, stat- 
ing that the principles of his machine for measuring 
time promised a very great and sufficient degree of ex- 
actness. In consequence of this certificate the ma- 
chine, at the request of the inventor, and at the rec- 
ommendation of the lords of the admiralty, was placed 
on board a man-of-war. 

Sir Charles Wager, then First Lord of the Admiralty, 
wrote to the captain of the Centurion, stating that the 
instrument had been approved by mathematicians as 
the best that had been made for measuring time, and 
requesting his kind treatment of Mr. Harrison, who 

Test of First Chronometer. 91 

was to accompany it to Lisbon. Captain Proctor an- 
swered the first lord from Spithead, dated May 17th, 
1736, promising his attention to Harrison's comfort, 
but intimating his fear that he had attempted impos- 
sibilities. It is always so with a new thing. The first 
steam-engine, the first gaslight, the first locomotive, 
the first steamboat to America, the first electric tele- 
graph, were all impossibilities! 

This first chronometer behaved very w r ell on the 
outward voyage in the Centurion. It was not affect- 
ed by the roughest weather, or by the working of the 
ship through the rolling waves of the Bay of Biscay. 
It was brought back, with Harrison, in the Orford 
man-of-war, when its great utility was proved in a re- 
markable manner, although, from the voyage being 
nearly on a meridian, the risk of losing the longitude 
was comparatively small. Yet the following was the 
certificate of the captain of the ship, dated the 24th of 
June, 1737: "When we made the land, the said land, 
according to my reckoning (and others), ought to have 
been the Start; but, before we knew what land it was, 
John Harrison declared to me and the rest of the 
ship's company that, according to his observations 
with his machine, it ought to be the Lizard the 
which, indeed, it was found to be, his observation 
showing the ship to be more west than my reckoning, 
above one degree and twenty-six miles" that is, near- 
ly ninety miles out of its course! 

Six days later that is, on the 30th of June the 
Board of Longitude met, when Harrison was present, 
and produced the chronometer with which he had made 
the voyage to Lisbon and back. The minute states: 
"Mr. John Harrison produced a new invented ma- 
chine, in the nature of clockwork, whereby he pro- 
poses to keep time at sea with more exactness than 
by any other instrument or method hitherto contrived, 

92 John Harrison. 

in order to the dix-overy of the longitude at sea; anl 
proposes to make another machine of smaller dimen- 
sions within the space of two years, whereby he will 
endeavor to correct some defects which he hath found 
in that already prepared, so as to render the same 
more perfect ; which machine, when completed, he is 
desirous of having tried in one of his majesty's ships 
that shall be bound to the West Indies; but at the 
same time represented that he should not be able, by 
reason of his necessitous circumstances, to go on and 
finish his said machine without assistance, and request- 
ed that he may be furnished with the sum of 500, to 
put him in a capacity to perform the same, and to make 
a perfect experiment thereof." 

The result of the meeting was that 500 was ordered 
to be paid to Harrison, one moiety as soon as conven- 
ient, and the other when he has produced a certificate 
from the captain of one of his majesty's ships that he 
has put the machine on board into the captain's pos- 
session. Mr. George Graham, who was consulted, urged 
that the commissioners should grant Harrison at least 
1000, but they only awarded him half the sum, and 
at first only a moiety of the amount voted. At the 
recommendation of Lord Monson, who was present, 
Harrison accepted the 250 as a help towards the 
heavy expenses which he had already incurred, and 
was again about to incur, in perfecting the invention. 
He was instructed to make his new chronometer of less 
dimensions, as the one exhibited was cumbersome and 
heavy, and occupied too much space on board. 

He accordingly proceeded to make his second chro- 
nometer. It occupied a space of only about half the 
size of the first. He introduced several improvements. 
He lessened the number of the wheels, and thereby 
diminished friction. But the general arrangement re- 
mained the same. This second machine was finished 

His Third Chronometer. 93 

in 1739. It was more simple in its arrangement, and 
less cumbrous in its dimensions. It answered even 
better than the first, and though it was not tried at 
sea, its motions were sufficiently exact for finding the 
longitude within the nearest limits proposed by act of 

JsTot satisfied with his two machines, Harrison pro- 
ceeded to make a third. This was of an improved 
construction, and occupied still less space, the whole 
of the machine and its apparatus standing upon an area 
of only four square feet. It was in such forwardness 
in January, 1741, that it was exhibited before the 
Royal Society, and twelve of the most prominent 
members signed a certificate of " its great and excel- 
lent use, as well for determining the longitude at sea 
as for correcting the charts of the coasts." The testi- 


monial concluded: "We do recommend Mr. Harrison 
to the favor of the commissioners appointed by act of 
Parliament as a person highly deserving of such fur- 
ther encouragement and assistance as they shall judge 
proper and sufficient to finish his third machine." The 
commissioners granted him a further sum of 500. 
Harrison was already reduced to necessitous circum- 
stances by his continuous application to the improve- 
ment of the timekeepers. He had also got into debt, 
and required further assistance to enable him to pro- 
ceed with their construction; but the commissioners 
would only help him by driblets. 

Although Harrison had promised that the third ma- 
chine would be ready for trial on August 1, 1743, it 
was not finished for some years after. In June, 1746, 
we find him again appearing before the board, asking 
for further assistance. While proceeding with his 
work, he found it necessary to add a new spring, 
"having spent much time and thought in tempering 
them." Another 500 was voted to enable him to 

94: John 

pay his debts, to maintain liimsclf and family, and to 
complete his chronometer. 

Three years later he exhibited his third machine to 


the Royal Society, and on the 30th of November, 1749, 
he was awarded the gold medal for the year. In pre- 
senting it, Mr. Folkes, the president, said to Mr. Har- 
rison, " I do here, by the authority and in the name of 
the Royal Society of London for the improving of nat- 
ural knowledge, present you with this small but faith- 
ful token of their regard and esteem. I do, in their 
name, congratulate you upon the successes you have al- 
ready had, and I most sincerely wish that all your fut- 
ure trials may in every way prove answerable to these 
beginnings, and that the full accomplishment of your 
great undertaking may at last be crowned with all the 
reputation and advantage to yourself that your warm- 
est wishes may suggest, and to which so many years 
so laudably and so diligently spent in the improvement 
of those talents which God Almighty has bestowed 
upon you will so justly entitle your constant and un- 
wearied perseverance." 

Mr. Folkes, in his speech, spoke of Mr. Harrison as 
" one of the most modest persons he had ever known. 
In speaking," he continued, " of his own performances, 
he has assured me that, from the immense number of 
diligent and accurate experiments he has made, and 
from the severe tests to which he has in many ways 
put his instrument, he expects he shall be able with 
sufficient certainty, through all the greatest variety of 
seasons and the most irregular motions of the sea, 
to keep time constantly, without the variation of so 
much as three seconds in a week, a degree of exactness 
that is astonishing and even stupendous, considering 
the immense number of difficulties, and those of very 
different sorts, which the author of these inventions 
must have had to encounter and struggle withal." 

His Fourth Chronometer. 95 

Although it is common enough now to make first- 
rate chronometers sufficient to determine the longi- 
tude with almost perfect accuracy in every clime of 
the world it was very different at that time, when 
Harrison was occupied with his laborious experiments. 
Although he considered his third machine to be the 
ne plus ultra of scientific mechanism, he nevertheless 
proceeded to construct & fourth timepiece, in the form 
of a pocket watch about five inches in diameter. He 
found the principles which he had adopted in his larger 
machines applied equally well in the smaller, and the 
performances of the last surpassed his utmost expecta- 
tions. But in the meantime, as his third timekeeper 
was, in his opinion, sufficient to supply the require- 
ments of the Board of Longitude as respected the 
highest reward offered, he applied to the commission- 
ers for leave to try that instrument on board a royal 
ship to some port in the West Indies, as directed by 
the statute of Queen Anne. 

Though Harrison's third timekeeper was finished 
about the year 1758, it was not until March 12, 1761, 
that he received orders for his son William to proceed 
to Portsmouth, and go on board the Dorsetshire man- 
of-war, to proceed to Jamaica. But another tedious 
delay occurred. The ship was ordered elsewhere, and 
William Harrison, after remaining five months at 
Portsmouth, returned to London. By this time John 
Harrison had finished his fourth timepiece the small 
one, in the form of a watch. At length William Har- 
rison set sail with this timekeeper from Portsmouth 
for Jamaica, on November 18th, 1761, in the Deptford 
man-of-war. The Deptford had forty-three ships in 
convoy, and arrived at Jamaica on the 19th of Janu- 
ary, 1762, three days before the Beaver, another of his 
majesty's ships-of-war, which had sailed from Ports- 
mouth ten clays before the Deptford, but had lost her 

9G John Harrison. 

and been deceived in her longitude, having 

C? ' ? 

trusted entirely to the log. Harrison's timepiece had 
corrected the log of the JMptford to the extent of three 
degrees of longitude, while several of the ships in the 
fleet lost as much as five degrees ! This shows the 
.haphazard way in which navigation was conducted 
previous to the invention of the marine chronometer. 

When the Deptford arrived at Port Royal, Jamaica, 
the timekeeper was found to be only five and one- 
tenth seconds in error ; and during the voyage of four 
months, on its return to Portsmouth on March 26th, 
1762, it was found (after allowing for the rate of gain 
or loss) to have erred only one minute fifty-four and a 
half seconds. In the latitude of Portsmouth this only 
amounted to eighteen geographical miles, whereas the 
act had awarded that the prize should be given where 
the longitude was determined within the distance of 
thirty geographical miles. One would have thought 
that Harrison was now clearly entitled to his reward 
of 20,000. 

Not at all ! The delays interposed by government 
are long and tedious, and sometimes insufferable. Har- 
rison had accomplished more than was needful to ob- 
tain the highest reward which the Board of Longitude 

o o 

had publicly offered. But they would not certify that 
he had won the prize. On the contrary, they started 
numerous objections, and continued for years to sub- 
ject him to vexatious delays and disappointments. 
They pleaded that the previous determination of the 
longitude of Jamaica by astronomical observation was 
unsatisfactory; that there was no proof of the chro- 
nometer having maintained a uniform rate durinq- the 

O O 

voyage ; and on the 17th of August, 1762, they passed 
a resolution stating that they "were of opinion that 
the experiments made of the watch had not been suffi- 
cient to determine the longitude at sea." 

Delays in Awarding the Prize. 97 

It was accordingly necessary for Harrison to petition 
Parliament on the subject. Three reigns had come 
and gone since the act of Parliament offering the re- 
ward had been passed. Anne had died; George I. and 
George II. had reigned and died ; and now, in the 
reign of George III. thirty-Jive years after Harrison 
had begun his labors, and after he had constructed 
four several marine chronometers, each of which was 
entitled to win the full prize an act of Parliament 
was passed enabling the inventor to obtain the sum of 
5000 as part of the reward. But the commissioners 
still hesitated. They differed about the tempering of 
the springs. They must have another trial of the time- 
keeper, or anything with which to put off a settlement 
of the claim. Harrison was ready for any further 
number of trials, and in the meantime the commission- 
ers merely paid him a further sum on account. 

Two more dreary years passed. Nothing was done 
in 1763 except a quantity of interminable talk at the 
Board of Commissioners. At length, on the 28th of 
March, 1764, Harrison's son again departed with the 
timekeeper on board the ship Tartar for Barbadoes. 
He returned in about four months, during which time 
the instrument enabled the longitude to be ascertained 
within ten miles, or one third of the required geo- 
graphical distance. Harrison memorialized the com- 
missioners again and again, in order that he might ob- 
tain the reward publicly offered by the government. 

At length the commissioners could no longer conceal 
the truth. In September, 1764, they virtually recog- 
nized Harrison's claim by paying him 1000 on ac- 
count; and, on the 9th of February, 1765, they passed 
a resolution setting forth that they were " unanimous- 
ly of opinion that the said timekeeper has kept its time 
with sufficient correctness, withbu^ losing its longitude ' 
in the voyage from Portsmouth to Barbadoes beyond 



98 John Harrison. 

the nearest limit required by the act 12th of Queen 
Anne, but even considerably within the same." Yet 
they would not give Harrison the necessary certificate, 
though they were of opinion that he was entitled to 
be paid the full reward ! 

It is pleasant to contrast the generous conduct of 
the King of Sardinia with the procrastinating and illib- 
eral spirit which Harrison met with in his own coun- 
try. During the same year in which the above reso- 
lution was passed, the Sardinian minister ordered four 
of Harrison's timekeepers at the price of 1000 each, 
at the special instance of the King of Sardinia, " as an 
acknowledgment of Mr. Harrison's ingenuity, and as 
some recompense for the time spent by him for the 
general good of mankind." This grateful attention 
was all the more praiseworthy, as his Sardinian majesty 
could not in any way be regarded as a great maritime 

Harrison was now becoming old and feeble. He 
had attained the age of seventy-four. He had spent 
forty long years in working out his invention. He 
was losing his eyesight, and could not afford to wait 
much longer. Still he had to wait. 

" Full little knowest thou who hast not tried, 
What hell it is in suing long to bide ; 
To lose good days, that might be better spent; 
To waste long nights in pensive discontent ; 
To spend to-day, to be put back to-morrow, 
To feed on hope, to pine with fear and sorrow." 

But Harrison had not lost his spirit. On May 30th, 
1765, he addressed another remonstrance to the board, 
containing much stronger language than he had yet 
used. "I cannot help thinking," he said, "that I am 
extremely ill-used by gentlemen from whom I might 
have expected a different treatment; for, if the act of 
the 12th of Queen Anne be deficient, why have I so 

Harrison's Expostulation. 99 

long been encouraged under it, in order to bring my 
invention to perfection ? And, after the completion, 
why was my son sent twice to the West Indies ? Had 
it been said to my son, when he received the last in- 
struction, ' There will, in case you succeed, be a new 
act on your return, in order to lay you under new re- 
strictions, which were not thought of in the act of the 
12th of Queen Anne' I say, had this been the case, I 
might have expected some such treatment as that I 
now meet with. 

" It must be owned that my case is very hard ; but 
I hope I am the first, and, for my country's sake, I hope 
I shall be the last, to suffer by pinning my faith upon 
an English act of Parliament. Had I received my just 
reward for certainly it may be so called after forty 
years' close application of the talent which it has 
pleased God to give me then my invention would 
have taken the course which all improvements in this 
world do ; that is, I must have instructed workmen in 
its principles and execution, which I should have been 
glad of an opportunity of doing. But how widely dif- 
ferent this is from what is now proposed, viz., for me 
to instruct people that I know nothing of, and such as 
may know nothing of mechanics ; and, if I do not 
make them understand to their satisfaction, I may then 
have nothing ! 

" Hard fate, indeed, to me, but still harder to the 
world, which may be deprived of this my invention, 
which must be the case, except by my open and free 
manner in describing all the principles of it to gentle- 
men and noblemen who almost at all times have had 
free recourse to my instruments. And if any of these 
workmen have been so ingenious as to have got my 
invention, how far you may please to reward them for 
their piracy must be left for you to determine ; and I 
must set myself down in old age, and thank God I can 


100 John Harrison. 

be more easy in that I have the conquest, and though 
I have no reward, than if I had come short of the mat- 
ter and by some delusion had the reward !" 

The right honorable the Earl of Egmont was in the 
chair of the Board of Longitude on the day when this 
letter was read June 13, 1765. The commissioners 
were somewhat startled by the tone which the invent- 
or had taken. Indeed, they were rather angry. Mr. 
Harrison, who was in waiting, was called in. After 
some rather hot speaking, and after a proposal was 
made to Harrison which he said he would decline to 
accede to " so long as a drop of English blood remained 
in his body," he left the room. Matters were at length 
arranged. The act of Parliament (5 Geo. III. cap. 20) 
awarded him, upon a full discovery of the principles of 
his timekeeper, the payment of such a sum, as, with 
the 2500 he had already received, would make one 
half of the rew r ard; and the remaining half was to be 
paid when other chronometers had been made after his 
design, and their capabilities fully proved. He was 
also required to assign his four chronometers one of 
which was styled a watch to the use of the public. 

Harrison at once proceeded to give a full explanation 
of the principles of his chronometer to Dr. Maskelyne 
and six other gentlemen, who had been appointed to 
receive them. He took his timekeeper to pieces in their 
presence, and deposited in their hands correct drawings 
of the same, with the parts, so that other skilful makers 
mio;ht construct similar chronometers on the same 


principles. Indeed, there was no difficulty in making 
them, after his explanations and drawings had been 
published. An exact copy of his last watch was made 
by the ingenious Mr. Kendal, and was used by Captain 
Cook in his three years' circumnavigation of the world, 
to his perfect satisfaction. 

England had already inaugurated that series of sci- 

Captain Cook's Voyages. 101 

entific expeditions which were to prove so fruitful of 
results, and to raise her naval reputation to so great a 
height. In these expeditions, the officers, the sailors, 
and the scientific men were constantly brought face to 
face with unforeseen difficulties and dangers, which 
brought forth their highest qualities as men. There 
was, however, some intermixture of narrowness in the 
minds of those who sent them forth. For instance, 
while Dr. Priestley was at Leeds, he was asked by Sir 
Joseph Banks to join Captain Cook's second expedition 
to the southern seas, as an astronomer. Priestley gave 
his assent, and made arrangements to set out. But 
some weeks later, Banks informed him that his appoint- 
ment had been cancelled, as the Board of Longitude 
objected to his theology. Priestley's otherwise gentle 
nature was roused. " What I am, and what they are, 
in respect to religion," he wrote to Banks, in Decem- 
ber, 1771, "might easily have been known before the 
thing was proposed to me at all. Besides, I thought 
that this had been a business of philosophy, and not 
of divinity. If, however, this be the case, I shall hold 
the Board of Longitude in extreme contempt." 

Captain Cook was appointed to the command of the 
Resolution, and Captain Wallis to the command of the 
Adventure, in November, 1771. They proceeded to 
equip the ships ; and among the other instruments 
taken on board Captain Cook's ship were two time- 
keepers, one made by Mr. Larcum Kendal, on Mr. Har- 
rison's principles, and the other by Mr. John Arnold, 
on his own. The expedition left Deptford in April, 
1772, and shortly afterwards sailed for the south seas. 
" Mr. Kendal's watch " is the subject of frequent no- 
tices in Captain Cook's account. At the Cape of Good 
Hope, it is said to have " answered beyond all expecta- 
tion." Further south, in the neighborhood of Cape 
Circumcision, he says, "the use of the telescope is 

102 John Harrison. 

found difficult at first, but a little- practice 1 will make it 
familiar. Uy the assistance of the watch we shall be 
able to discover the greatest error this method of ob- 
serving the longitude at sea is liable to." It was found 
that Harrison's watch w r as more correct than Arnold's, 
and when near Cape Palliser, in New Zealand, Cook 
says, ''This day at noon, when we attended the winding- 
ii}) of the watches, the fusee of Mr. Arnold's w r ould not 
turn round, so that, after several unsuccessful trials, we 
were obliged to let it go down." From this time com- 
plete reliance was placed upon Harrison's chronometer. 
Some time later, Cook says, "I must here take notice 
that our longitude can never be erroneous while we 
have so good a guide as Mr. Kendal's watch." It may 
be observed that at the beginning of the voyage ob- 
servations were made by the lunar tables ; but these, 
being found unreliable, were eventually discontinued. 

To return to Harrison. He continued to be worried 
by official opposition. His claims were still unsatisfied. 
His watch at home underwent many more trials. Dr. 
Maskelyne, the royal astronomer, was charged with 
bein unfavorable to the success of chronometers, be- 

o * 

ing deeply interested in finding the longitude by lunar 
tables ; although this method is now almost entirely 
superseded by the chronometer. Harrison accordingly 
could not get the certificate of what was due to him 
under the act of Parliament. Years passed before he 
could obtain the remaining amount of his reward. It 
was not until the year 1773, or forty -five years after the 
commencement of his experiments, that he succeeded in 
obtaining it. The following is an entry in the list of 
supplies granted by Parliament in that year: "June 
14. To John Harrison, as a further reward and en- 
couragement over and above the sums already received 
by him, for his invention of a timekeeper for ascertain- 
ing the longitude at sea, and his discovery of the prin- 

Final Settlement of his Claim. 103 

ciples upon which the same was constructed, 8570 Os. 

John Harrison did not long survive the settlement 
of his claims, for he died on the 24th of March, 1776, 
at the age of eighty-three. He was buried at the 
southwest corner of Hampstead parish churchyard, 
where a tombstone was erected to his memory, and an 
inscription placed upon it commemorating his services. 
His wife survived him only a year; she died at seventy- 
two, and was buried in the same tomb. His son, Will- 
iam Harrison, F.R.S., a deputy-lieutenant of the coun- 
ties of Monmouth and Middlesex, died in 1815, at the 
ripe age of eighty-eight, and was also interred there. 
The tomb having stood for more than a century, be- 
came somewhat dilapidated, when the Clockmakers' 
Company of the City of London took steps in 1879 to 
reconstruct it, and recut the inscriptions. An appro- 
priate ceremony took place at the final uncovering of 
the tomb. 

But perhaps the most interesting works connected 
with John Harrison and the great labor of his life are 
the wooden clock at the South Kensington Museum, 
and the four chronometers made by him for the gov- 
ernment, which are still preserved at the Royal Ob- 
servatory, Greenwich. The three early ones are of 
great weight, and can scarcely be moved without some 
bodily labor. But the fourth, the marine chronometer 
or watch, is of small dimensions, and is easily handled. 
It still possesses the power of going accurately, as does 
" Mr. Kendal's watch," which was made exactly after 
it. These will always prove the best memorials of 
this distinguished workman. 

Before concluding this brief notice of the life and 
labors of John Harrison, it becomes me to thank most 
cordially Mr. Christie, Astronomer Royal, for his kind- 
ness in exhibiting the various chronometers deposited 

104 John Harrison. 

at tho Greenwich Observatory, and for his permission 
to inspect the minutes of the Board of Longitude, 
where the various interviews between the inventor and 
the commissioners, extending over many years, are 
faithfully but too procrastinatingly recorded. It may 
be finally said of John Harrison, that by the invention 
of his chronometer the ever-sleepless and ever-trusty 
friend of the mariner he conferred an incalculable 
benefit on science and navigation, and established his 
claim to be regarded as one of the greatest benefactors 
of mankind. 




"By Commerce are acquired the two things which wise men ac- 
compt of all others the most necessary to the well-being of a Common- 
wealth : That is to say, a general Industry of Mind and Hardiness 
of Body, which never foil to be accompanyed with Honour and Plen- 
ty. So that, questionless, when Commerce does not flourish, as well 
as other Professions, and when Particular Persons out of a habit of 
Laziness neglect at once the noblest way of employing their time 
and the fairest occasion for advancing their fortunes, that King- 
dom, though otherwise never so glorious, wants something of being 
compleatly happy." A Treatise Touching the East India Trade 

INDUSTRY puts an entirely new face upon the pro- 
ductions of nature. By labor man has subjugated the 
world, reduced it to his dominion, and clothed the 
earth with a new garment. The first rude plough 
that man thrust into the soil, the first rude axe of 
stone with which he felled its pine, the first rude ca- 
noe scooped by him from its trunk to cross the river 
and reach the greener fields beyond, were each the 
outcome of a human faculty which brought within his 
reach some physical comfort he had never enjoyed be- 

Material things became subject to the influence of 
labor. From the clay of the ground man manufac- 
tured the vessels which were to contain his food. Out 
of the fleecy covering of sheep he made clothes for 
himself of many kinds; from the flax-plant he drew its 


106 John Lombc. 

libivs, :ui<l made linen and cambric; from the hemp- 
plant he made ropes and fishing-nets; from the cot- 
ton-pod he fabricated fustians, dimities, and calicoes. 
From the rags of these, or from Aveed and the shav- 
ings of wood, he made paper, on which books and 
newspapers were printed. Lead was formed by him 
into printer's type, for the communication of knowl- 
edge without end. 

But the most extraordinary changes of all were made 
in a heavy stone containing metal, dug out of the 
ground. With this, when smelted by wood or coal, 
and manipulated by experienced skill, iron was pro- 
duced. From this extraordinary metal, the soul of 
every manufacture, and the mainspring perhaps of 
civilized society, arms, hammers, and axes were made; 
then knives, scissors, and needles; then machinery to 
hold and control the prodigious force of steam; and, 
eventually, railroads and locomotives, ironclads pro- 
pelled by the screw, and iron and steel bridges miles 
in length. 


The silk manufacture, though originating in the se- 
cretion of a tiny caterpillar, is perhaps equally extraor- 
dinary. Hundreds of thousands of pounds' weight 
of this slender thread, no thicker than the filaments 
spun by a spider, give employment to millions of work- 
ers throughout the world. Silk, and the many text- 
ures wrought from this beautiful material, had long 
been known in the East; but the period cannot be fixed 
when man first divested the chrysalis of its dwelling, 
and discovered that the little yellow ball which adhered 
to the leaf of the mulberry-tree could be evolved into 
a slender filament, from which tissues of endless vari- 
ety and beauty could be made. The Chinese were, 
doubtless, among the first who used the thread spun 
by the silkworm for the purposes of clothing. The 
manufacture went westward from China to India and 

The Silk Industry. 107 

Persia, and from thence to Europe. Alexander the 
Great brought home with him a store of rich silks 
from Persia. 

Aristotle and Pliny give descriptions of the indus- 
trious little worm and its productions. Virgil is the 
first of the Roman writers who alludes to the produc- 
tion of silk in China, and the terms he employs show 
how little was then known about the article. It was 
introduced at Rome about the time of Julius Caesar, 
who displayed a profusion of silks in some of his mag- 
nificent theatrical spectacles. Silk was so valuable 
that it was then sold for an equal weight of gold. In- 
deed, a law was passed that no man should disgrace 
himself by wearing a silken garment. The emperor 
Heliogabalus despised the law, and wore a dress com- 
posed wholly of silk. The example thus set was soon 
followed by the wealthy citizens. A demand for silk 
from the East soon became general. 

It was not until about the middle of the sixth centu- 
ry that two Persian monks, who had long resided in 
China, and made themselves acquainted with the mode 
of rearing the silkworm, succeeded in carrying the eggs 
of the insect to Constantinople. Under their direction 
they were hatched and fed. A sufficient number of 
butterflies were saved to propagate the race, and mul- 
berry-trees were planted to afford nourishment to the 
rising generation of caterpillars. Thus the industry 
was propagated. It spread into the Italian peninsula; 
and eventually manufactures of silk velvet, damask, 
and satin became established in Venice, Milan, Flor- 
ence, Lucca, and other places. 

Indeed, for several centuries the manufacture of silk 
in Europe was for the most part confined to Italy. 
The rearing of silkworms was of great importance 
in Modena, and yielded a considerable revenue to the 
state. The silk produced there was esteemed the best 

ins John Lonibe. 

in Lombard v. Until the beginning of the sixteenth 


century, Bologna was the only city which possessed 
proper "throwing' 1 mills, or the machinery requisite 
for twisting and preparing silken fibres for the weaver. 
Thousands of people were employed at Florence and 
Genoa about the same time in the silk manufacture. 
And at Venice it was held in such high esteem that 
the business of a silk-factory was considered a noble 

It was long before the use of silk became general in 
England. "Silk," said an old writer, "does not im- 
mediately come hither from the Worm that spins and 
makes it, but passes many a Climate, travels many a 
Desert, employs many a Hand, loads many a Camel, 
and freights many a Ship before it arrives here; and 
when at last it comes, it is in return for other manu- 
factures, or in exchange for our money." f It is said 
that the first pair of silk stockings was brought into 
England from Spain, and presented to Henry VIII. 
He had before worn hose of cloth. In the third year 
of Queen Elizabeth's reign her tiring woman, Mrs. 
Montagu, presented her with a pair of black silk 
stockings as a New Year's gift; whereupon her majes- 
ty asked if she could have any more, in which case she 
would wear no more cloth stockings. When James 

* " This was equally the case with two other trades, those of glass- 
maker and druggist, which brought no contamination upon nobility in 
Venice. In a country where wealth was concentrated in the hands 
of the powerful, it was no doubt highly judicious thus to encourage 
its employment for objects of public advantage. A feeling, more or 
less powerful, has always existed in the minds of the high-born against 
the employment of their time and wealth to purposes of commerce or 
manufactures. All trades, save only that of war, seem to have been 
held by them as in some sort degrading, and but little comporting 
with the dignity of aristocratic blood." Cabinet Cyclopedia, "Silk 
Manufacture," p. 20. 

t " A Brief State of the Inland or Home Trade " (pamphlet), 1730. 

The Silk Manufacture. 109 

VI. of Scotland received the ambassadors sent to con- 
gratulate him upon his accession to the throne of Great 
Britain, he asked one of his lords to lend him his pair 
of silken hose, that he "might not appear a scrub be- 
fore strangers." From these circumstances, it will be 
observed how rare the wearing of silk was in England. 

o o 

Shortly after becoming king, James I. endeavored 
to establish the silk manufacture in England, as had 
already been successfully done in France. He gave 
every encouragement to the breeding of silkworms. 
He sent circular letters to all the counties of England, 


strongly recommending the inhabitants to plant mul- 
berry-trees. The trees were planted in many places, 
but the leaves did not ripen in sufficient time for the 
sustenance of the silkworms. The same attempt was 
made at Inneshannon, near Bandon, in Ireland, by the 
Huguenot refugees, but proved abortive. The cli- 
mate proved too cold or damp for the rearing of silk- 
worms with advantage. All that remains is "The 
Mulberry Field," which still retains its name. Nev- 
ertheless, the Huguenots successfully established the 
silk manufacture at London and Dublin, obtaining the 
spun silk from abroad. 

Down to the beginning of last century, the Italians 
were the principal producers of organzine, or thrown 
silk; and for a long time they succeeded in keeping 
their art a secret. Although the silk manufacture, as 

d? 7 

we have seen, was introduced into this country by the 
Huguenot artisans, the price of thrown silk was so 
great that it interfered very considerably with its prog- 
ress. Organzine was principally made within the do- 
minions of Savoy, by means of a large and curious 
engine, the like of which did not exist elsewhere. The 
Italians, by the most severe laws, long preserved the 
mystery of the invention. The punishment prescribed 
by one of their laws to be inflicted upon any one who 

110 John Lomle. 

discovered the secret, or attempted to carry it out of 
the Sardinian dominions, was death, with the forfeit- 
ure of all the goods the delinquent possessed; and the 
culprit was "to be afterwards painted on the outside 
of the prison walls, hanging to the gallows by one 
foot, with an inscription denoting the name and crime 
of the person, there to be continued for a perpetual 
mark of infamy."* 

Nevertheless, a bold and ingenious man was found 
ready to brave all this danger in the endeavor to dis- 
cover the secret. It may be remembered with what 
courage and determination the founder of the Foley 
family introduced the manufacture of nails into Eng- 
land. He went into the Danemora mine district, near 
Upsala, in Sweden, fiddling his way among the miners, 
and after making two voyages, he at last wrested from 
them the secret of making nails, and introduced the 
new industry into the Staffordshire district.f The 
courage of John Lombe, who introduced the thrown- 
silk industry into England, was equally notable. He 
was a native of Norwich. Playfair, in his " Family 
Antiquity" (vol. vii. p. 312), says his name "may have 
been taken from the French Lolme, or de Lolme," as 
there were many persons of French and Flemish origin 
settled at Norwich towards the close of the sixteenth 
century; but there is no further information as to his 
special origin. 

John Lombe's father, Henry Lombe, was a worsted 
weaver, and was twice married. By his first wife he 
had two sons, Thomas and Henry; and by his second 

* "A Brief State of the Case relating to the Machine erected at 
Derby for making Italian Organzine Silk, which was discovered and 
brought into England with the utmost difficulty and hazard, and at 
the Sole Expense of Sir Thomas Lombe." House of Commons Pa- 
per, 28th of January, 1731. 

t "Self-Help, "p. 205. 

Origin of the Lonibes. Ill 

he had also two sons, Benjamin and John. At his 
death, in 1695, he left his two brothers his " super- 
visors," or trustees, and directed them to educate his 
children in due time to some useful trade. Thom- 
as, the eldest son, went to London. He was appren- 
ticed to a trade, and succeeded in business, as we find 
him sheriff of London and Middlesex in 1727, when in 
his forty-second year. He was also knighted in the 
same year, most probably on the accession of George 
II. to the throne. 

John, the youngest son of the family, and half-broth- 
er of Thomas, was put an apprentice to a trade. In 
1702 we find him at Derby, working as a mechanic 
with one Mr. Crotchet. This unfortunate gentleman 
started a small silk-mill at Derby, with the object of 
participating in the profits derived from the manu- 
facture. "The wear of silks," says Hutton, in his 
"History of Derby," "was the taste of the ladies, and 
the British merchant was obliged to apply to the Ital- 
ian with ready money for the article at an exorbitant 
price." Crotchet did not succeed in his undertaking. 
" Three engines were found necessary for the process; 
he had but one. An untoward trade is a dreadful sink 
for money, and an imprudent tradesman is still more 
dreadful. We often see instances where a fortune 
would last a man much longer if he lived upon his 
capital than if he sent it into trade. Crotchet soon 
became insolvent." 

John Lombe, who had been a mechanic in Crotchet's 
silk-mill, lost his situation accordingly. But he seems 
to have been possessed by an intense desire to ascer- 
tain the Italian method of silk-throwing. He could 
not learn it in England. There was no other method 
but going to Italy, getting into a silk-mill, and learn- 
ing the secret of the Italian art. He was a good me- 
chanic and a clever draughtsman, besides being intel- 

112 John Lonibe. 

ligent and fearless. Hut he had not the necessary 
money wherewith to proceed to Italy. His half-broth- 
er Thomas, however, was doing well in London, and 
was willing to help him with the requisite means. Ac- 
cordingly, John set out for Italy not long after the 
failure of Crotchet. 

John Lombc succeeded in getting employment in a 
silk-mill in Piedmont, where the art of silk-throwing 
was kept a secret. He was employed as a mechanic, 
and had thus an opportunity, in course of time, of be- 
coming familiar with the operation of the engine. 
Hutton says that he bribed the workmen : but this 
would have been a dangerous step, and would proba- 
bly have led to his expulsion, if not to his execution. 
Hutton had a great detestation of the first silk-factory 
at Derby, where he was employed when a boy, and ev- 
erything that he says about it must be taken cum yrano 
sails. When the subject of renewing the patent was 
before Parliament, in 1*731, Mr. Perry, who supported 
the petition of Sir Thomas Lombe, said that " the art 
had been kept so secret in Piedmont that no other na- 
tion could ever yet come at the invention, and that Sir 
Thomas and his brother resolved to make an attempt 
for the brin<nn of this invention into their own coun- 


try. They knew that there would be great difficulty 
and danger in the undertaking, because the King of 
Sardinia had made it death for any man to discover 
this invention, or attempt to carry it out of his domin- 
ions. The petitioner's brother, however, resolved to 
venture his person for the benefit and advantage of his 
native country, and Sir Thomas was resolved to vent- 

/ ' 

ure his money, and to furnish his brother with what- 
ever sums should be necessary for executing so bold 
and so generous a design. His brother went, accord- 
ingly, over to Italy, and, after a long stay and a great 
expense in that country, he found means to see this 

The Derby Silk-mill. 113 

engine so often, and to pry into the nature of it so 
narrowly, that he made himself master of the whole 
invention, and of all the different parts and motions 
belonging to it." 

John Lombe was absent from England for several 
years. While occupied with his investigations and 
making his drawings, it is said that it began to be ru- 
mored that the Englishman was prying into the secret 
of the silk-mills, and that he had to fly for his life. 
However this may be, he got on board an English 
ship, and returned to England in safety. He brought 
two Italian workmen with him, accustomed to the se- 
crets of the silk-trade. He arrived in London in 1716, 
when, after conferring with his brother, a specification 
was prepared, and a patent for the organzining of raw 
silk was taken out in 1718. The patent was granted 
for fourteen years. 

In the meantime John Lombe arranged with the 


corporation of the town of Derby for taking a lease of 
the island, or swamp, on the River Derwent, at a ground 
rental of 8 a year. The island, which was well-situ- 
ated for water - power, was five hundred feet long 
and fifty-two feet wide. Arrangements were at once 
made for erecting a silk-mill thereon, the first large 
factory in England. It was constructed entirely at 
the expense of his brother Thomas. While the build- 
ing was in progress, John Lombe hired various rooms 
in Derby, and particularly the Town Hall, where he 
erected temporary engines turned by hand, and gave 
employment to a large number of poor people. 

At length, after about three years' labor, the great 
silk-mill was completed. It was founded upon huge 
piles of oak, from sixteen to twenty feet long, driven 
into the swamp close to each other by an engine made 
for the purpose. The building was five stories high, 
contained eight large apartments, and had no fewer 

11-i John Lomlc. 

than four hundred and sixty - eight windows. The 
Lombcs must have had great confidence in their spec- 
ulation, as the building and the great engine for mak- 
ing the organzine silk, together with the other fittings, 
cost them about 30,000. 

One effect of the working of the mill was greatly to 
reduce the price of the throw r n-silk, and to bring it 
below the cost of the Italian production. The King 
of Sardinia, having heard of the success of the Lombcs' 
undertaking, prohibited the exportation of Piedmont- 
cse raw silk, whicli interrupted the course of their 
prosperity until means w r ere taken to find a renewed 
supply elsewhere. 

And now comes the tragic part of the story, for 
which Mr. Hutton, the author of the " History of Der- 
by," is responsible. As he worked in the silk-mill 
when a boy, from 1730 to 1737, he doubtless heard it 
from the mill-hands, and there may be some truth in 
it, though mixed with a little romance. It is this: 
Hutton says of John Lombe, that he "had not pursued 
this lucrative commerce more than three or four years 
when the Italians, who felt the effects from their w r ant 
of trade, determined his destruction, and hoped that 
that of his works would follow. An artful woman 
came over in the character of a friend, associated with 
the parties, and assisted in the business. She attempt- 
ed to gain both the Italian workmen, and succeeded 
with one. By these two slow r poison w T as supposed, and 
perhaps justly, to have been administered to John 
Lombe, who lingered two or three years in agony, 
and departed. The Italian ran away to his own coun- 
try, and madam was interrogated, but nothing trans- 
pired, except what strengthened suspicion." A strange 
story, if true. 

Of the funeral, Hutton says: "John Lombe's was 
the most superb ever known in Derby. A man of 

Death of Loiribe. 115 

peaceable deportment, who had brought a beneficial 
manufactory into the place, employed the poor, and at 
advanced wages, could not fail meeting with respect, 
and his melancholy end with pity. Exclusive of the 
gentlemen who attended, all the people concerned in 
the works were invited. The procession marched in 
pairs, and extended the length of Full Street, the mar- 
ket-place, and Iron-gate; so that when the corpse en- 
tered All -Saints, at St. Mary's Gate, the last couple 
left the house of the deceased, at the corner of Silk- 
mill Lane." 

Thus John Lombe died and was buried at the early 
age of twenty-nine, and Thomas, the capitalist, con- 
tinued the owner of the Derby silk-mill. Hutton erro- 
neously states that William succeeded, and that he shot 
himself. The Lombes had no brother of the name of 
William, and this part of Hutton's story is a romance. 

The affairs of the Derby silk-mill went on prosper- 
ously. Enough thrown-silk was manufactured to sup- 
ply the trade, and the weaving of silk became a thriv- 
ing business. Indeed, English silk began to have a 
European reputation. In olden times it was said that 
" the stranger buys of the Englishman the case of the 
fox for a groat, and sells him the tail again for a shil- 
ling." But now the matter was reversed, and the say- 
ing was, "The Englishman buys silk of the stranger 
for twenty marks, and sells him the same again for 
one hundred pounds." 

But the patent was about to expire. It had been 
granted for only fourteen years, and a long time had 
elapsed before the engine could be put in operation, 
and the organzine manufactured. It was the only 
engine in the kingdom. Joshua Gee, writing in 1731, 
says: " As we have but one Water Engine in the king- 
dom for throwing silk, if that should be destroyed by 
fire or any other accident, it would make the continu- 

110 John Loir<l . 

anre of throwing line silk very precarious; ami it is 
very much to be doubted whether all the men now 
living in the kingdom could make another." Gee ac- 
cordingly recommended that three or four more should 
be erected at the public expense, "according to the 
model of that at Derby." * 

The patent expired in 1732. The year before, Sir 
Thomas Lombe, who had been by this time knighted, 
applied to Parliament for a prolongation of the patent. 
The reasons for his appeal were principally these: that 
before he could provide for the full supply of other 
silk for his purpose (the Italians having prohibited the 
exportation of raw silk), and before he could alter his 
engine, train up a sufficient number of work-people, and 
bring the manufacture to perfection, almost all the 
fourteen years of his patent right would have expired. 
"Therefore," the petition to Parliament concluded, 
"as he has not hitherto received the intended benefit 
of the aforesaid patent, and in consideration of the ex- 
traordinary nature of this undertaking, the very great 
expense, hazard, and difficulty he has undergone, as 
well as the advantage he has thereby procured to the 
nation at his own expense, the said Sir Thomas Lombe 
humbly hopes the Parliament will grant him a further 
term for the sole making and using his engines, or such 
other recompense as in their wisdom shall seem meet."f 

* " The Trade and Navigation of Great Britain Considered," p. 91. 

t The petition sets forth the merits of the machine at Derby for 
making Italian organzine silk " a manufacture made out of fane raw 
silk, by reducing it to a hard-twisted, fine, and even thread. This 
silk makes the warp, and is absolutely necessary to mix with and 
cover the Turkey and other coarser silks thrown here, which are used 
for Shute so that, without a constant supply of this fine Italian or- 
ganzine silk, very little of the said Turkey or other silks could be 
used, nor could the silk-weaving trade be carried on in England. 
This Italian organzine (or thrown) silk has in all times past been 
bought with our money, ready made (or worked) in Italy, for want 

Sir Thomas Lovibe Rewarded. 117 

The petition was referred to a committee. After 
consideration, they recommended the House of Com- 
mons to grant a further term of years to Sir Thomas 
Lombe. The advisers of the king, however, thought 
it better that the patent should not be renewed, but 
that the trade in silk should be thrown free to all. 
Accordingly the Chancellor of the Exchequer acquaint- 
ed the House (14th of March, 1731) that "his majesty, 
having been informed of the case of Sir Thomas Lombe, 
with respect to his engine for making organzine silk, 
had commanded him to acquaint this House that his 
majesty recommended to their consideration the mak- 
ing such provision for a recompense to Sir Thomas 
Lombe as they shall think proper." 

The result was, that the sum of 14,000 was voted 
and paid to Sir Thomas Lombe as " a reward for his 
eminent services done to the nation in discovering 


with the greatest hazard and difficulty the capital Ital- 
ian engines, and introducing and bringing the same 
to full perfection in this kingdom, at his own great 
expense."* The trade was accordingly thrown open. 

of the art of making it here. Whereas now, by making it ourselves 
out of fine Italian raw silk, the nation saves near one-third part ; and 
by what we make out of fine China, raw silk, above one half of the 
price we pay for it ready worked in Italy. The machine at Derby 
contains ninety-seven thousand seven hundred and forty-six wheels, 
movements, and individual parts (which work day and night), all 
which receive their motion from one large water-wheel, are governed 
by one regulator, and it employs about three hundred persons to attend 
and supply it with work." In Kees' Cyclopedia (art. "Silk Manufac- 
ture") there is a full description of the Piedmont throwing-machine 
introduced to England by John Lombe, with a good plate of it. 

* Sir Thomas Lombe died in 1738. He had two daughters. The 
first, Hannah, was married to Sir Robert Clifton, of Clifton, County 
Notts ; the second, Mary Turner, was married to James, seventh Earl 
of Lauderdale. In his will, he "recommends his wife, at the con- 
clusion of the Darby concern," to distribute among his "principal 
servants or managers five or six hundred pounds.' 

c. '' 

118 John Lonibc. 

Silk-mills were erected at Stockport and else where; 
I Tut tun says that divers additional mills were erected 
in Derby; and a large and thriving trade was estab- 
lished. In 1850 the number employed in the silk man- 
ufacture exceeded a million persons. The old mill 
has recently become disused. Although supported by 
strong wooden supports, it showed signs of falling, 
and it was replaced by a larger mill, more suitable to 
modern requirements. 




"Justice exacts that those by whom we are most benefited should 
be most admired." DR. JOHNSON. 

" The beginning of civilization is the discovery of some useful arts, 
by which men acquire property, comforts, or luxuries. The necessity 
or desire of preserving them leads to laws and social institutions. . . . 
In reality, the origin as well as the progress and improvement of civil 
socictv is founded on mechanical and chemical inventions/' SIR 


AT the middle of last century, Scotland was a very 
poor country. It consisted mostly of mountain and 
moorland; and the little arable land it contained was 
badly cultivated. Agriculture was almost a lost art. 
" Except in a few instances," says a writer in the Farm- 
ers' Magazine of 1803, " Scotland was little better than 
a barren waste." Cattle could with difficulty be kept 
alive; and the people in some parts of the country 
were often on the brink of starvation. The people 
were hopeless, miserable, and without spirit, like the 
Irish in their very worst times. After the wreck of 
the Darien expedition, there seemed to be neither skill, 
enterprise, nor money left in the country. What re- 
sources it contained were altogether undeveloped. 
There was little communication between one place 
and another, and such roads as existed were for the 
greater part of the year simply impassable. 

There were various opinions as to the causes of this 

120 William Murdoch. 

frightful state of tilings. Some thought it was the 
union between England and Scotland ; and Andrew 
Fletcher of Saltoun, "The Patriot," as he was called, 
urged its repeal. In one of his publications, he en- 
deavored to show that about one sixth of the popula- 
tion of Scotland was in a state of beggary two hun- 
dred thousand vagabonds begging from door to door, 
or robbing and plundering people as poor as them- 
selves.* Fletcher was accordingly as great a repealer 
as Daniel O'Connell in after-times. But he could not 
get the people to combine. There were others who 
held a different opinion. They thought that something 
might be done by the people themselves to extricate 
the country from its miserable condition. It still pos- 
sessed some important elements of prosperity. The 
inhabitants of Scotland, though poor, were strong and 
able to work. The land, though cold and sterile, was 
capable of cultivation. 

Accordingly, about the middle of last century, some 
important steps were taken to improve the general 
condition of things. A few public-spirited landown- 
ers led the way, and formed themselves into a society 
for carrying out improvements in agriculture. They 
granted long leases of farms as a stimulus to the most 
skilled and industrious, and found it to their interest 
to give the farmer a more permanent interest in his 
improvements than he had before enjoyed. Thus 
stimulated and encouraged, farming made rapid prog- 
ress, especially in the Lothians ; and the example 
spread into other districts. Banks were established 
for the storage of capital. Roads were improved, and 
communications increased between one part of the 
country and another. Hence trade and commerce 
arose, by reason of the facilities afforded for the inter- 

* Fletcher's "Political Works," London, 1737, p. 1-tU. 

Invention of James Watt. 121 

change of traffic. The people, being fairly educated 
by the parish schools, were able to take advantage of 
these improvements. Sloth and idleness gradually 
disappeared before the energy, activity, and industry 
which were called into life by the improved communi- 

At the same time active and powerful minds were 
occupied in extending the domain of knowledge. 
Black and Robison, of Glasgow, were the precursors 
of James Watt, whose invention of the condensing 
steam-engine was yet to produce a revolution in in- 
dustrial operations the like of which had never before 
been known. Watt had hit upon his great idea while 
experimenting with an old IsTewcomen model which be- 
longed to the University of Glasgow. He was invited 
by Mr. Roebuck, of Kinneil, to make a working steam- 
engine for the purpose of pumping water from the 
coal-pits at Boroughstoness ; but his progress was 
stopped by want of capital, as well as by want of ex- 
perience. It was not until the brave and generous 
Matthew Boulton of Birmingham took up the machine, 
and backed Watt with his capital and his spirit, that 
Watt's enterprise had the remotest chance of success. 
Even after about twelve years 1 effort, the condensing 
steam-engine was only beginning, though half-hearted- 
ly, to be taken up and employed by colliery proprie- 
tors and cotton manufacturers. In developing its 
powers, and extending its uses, the great merits of 
William Murdock can never be forgotten. Watt 
stands first in its history, as the inventor ; Boulton 
second, as its promoter and supporter; and Murdock 
third, as its developer and improver. 

William Murdock was born on the 21st of August, 
1754, at Bellow Mill, in the parish of Auchinleck, Ayr- 
shire. His father, John, was a miller and millwright, 
as well as a farmer. His mother's maiden name was 


122 William Murdoch. 

IJrm-e, and she used to boast of being descended from 
Mnbert llnice, the deliverer of Scotland. The Mur- 
docks, or Murdochs for the name Avas spelled in either 
way were numerous in the neighborhood, and they 
were nearly all related to eaeh other. They are sup- 
-cd to have originally come into the district from 
Flanders, between which country and Scotland a con- 
siderable intercourse existed in the middle ages. Some 
of the Murdocks took a leading part in the construction 

of the abbeys and cathedrals of the north:* others 


were known as mechanics; but the greater number 
were farmers. 

One of the best-known members of the family was 
John Mtirdock, the poet Burns's first teacher. Burns 
went to his school at Alloway Mill, when he was six 
years old. There he learned to read and write. AY hen 
Murdock afterwards set up a school at Ayr, Burns, 
who was then fifteen, went to board with him. In a 
letter to a correspondent, Murdock said: "In 1773, 
Robert Burns came to board and lodge with me, for 
the purpose of revising his English grammar, that he 
might be better qualified to instruct his brothers and 
sisters at home. lie was now with me day and ni^ht, 


* One of the Murdocks built the cathedral at Glasgow, as well us 
others in Scotland. The famous school of masonry at Antwerp sent 
out a number of excellent architects during the eleventh, twelfth, and 
thirteenth centuries. One of these, on coming into Scotland, assumed 
the name of Murdo. He was a Frenchman, born in Paris, as we learn 
from the inscription left on Melrose Abbey, and he died while build- 
ing that noble work ; it is as follows : 

"John Murdo sumtvme calt was I 
And born in Peryse certainly, 
An' had in kepyng all mason wark 
Sanct Andrays, the Hye Kirk o' Glasgo, 
Melrose and Paisley, Jedybro and Galowy. 
Pray to God and Mary baith, and sweet 
Saint John, keep this Holy Kirk frae scaith." 

Murdochs J3oyhood. 123 

in school, at all meals, and in all my walks." The pu- 
pil even shared the teacher's bed at night. Murdock 
lent the boy books, and helped the cultivation of his 
mind in many ways. Burns soon revived his English 
grammar, and learned French, as well as a little Latin. 
Some time after, Murdock removed to London, and 
had the honor of teaching Talleyrand English during 
his residence as an emigrant in this country. He con- 
tinued to have the greatest respect for his former pu- 
pil, whose poetry commemorated the beauties of his 
native district. 

It may be mentioned that Bellow Mill is situated on 
the Bellow Water, near where it joins the river Lugar. 
One of Burns's finest songs begins: 

"Behind yon hills where Lugar flows." 

That was the scene of William Murdock's boyhood. 
When a boy, he herded his father's cows along the 
banks of the Bellow ; and as there were then no 
hedges, it was necessary to have some one to watch 
the cattle while grazing. The spot is still pointed out 
where the boy, in the intervals of his herding, hewed 
a square compartment out of the rock by the water- 
side, and there burned the splint coal found on the top 
of the Black Band ironstone. That was one of the 
undeveloped industries of Scotland ; for the Scotch 
iron trade did not arrive at any considerable impor- 
tance until about a century later.* The little cavern 
in which Murdock burned the splint coal was provided 
with a fireplace and vent, all complete. It is possible 
that he may have there derived, from his experiments, 
the first idea of gas as an illuminant. 

* The discovery of the Black Band Ironstone by David Mushet in 
1801, and the invention of the hot blast by James Beaumont Neilson 
in 1828, will be found related in "Industrial Biography," pp. 141- 

12 William Murdoch. 

Murdock is also said to have made a wooden horse, 
worked by mechanical power, which was the wonder 
of the district. On this mechanical horse he rode to 
the village of Cumnock, about two miles distant. His 
father's name is, however, associated with his own in 
the production of this machine. Old John Murdock 
had a reputation for intelligence and skill of no ordi- 
nary kind. When at Carron ironworks, in 1760, he had 
a pinton cast after a pattern which he had prepared. 
This is said to have been the first piece of iron-toothed 
Bearing ever used in mill work. When I last saw it, 
the pinton was placed on the lawn in front of William 
Murdock's villa at Handsworth. 

The young man helped his father in many ways. He 
worked in the mill, worked on the farm, and assisted 
in the preparation of mill machinery. In this way 
he obtained a considerable amount of general techni- 
cal knowledge. He even designed and constructed 
bridges. He was employed to build a bridge over 
the river Nith, near Dumfries, and it stands there to 
this day, a solid and handsome structure. But he had 
an ambition to be something more than a country 
mason. He had heard a great deal about the inven- 
tions of James AVatt ; and he determined to try 
whether he could not get " a job " at the famous man- 
ufactory at Soho. He accordingly left his native 
place in the year 1777, in the twenty-third year of his 
age, and migrated southward. He left plenty of Mur- 
docks behind him. There was a famous staff in the 
family, originally owned by William Murdock's grand- 
father, which bore the following inscription : " This 
staff I leave in pedigree to the oldest Murdock after 
me, in the parish of Auchenleck, 1745." This staff 
was lately held by Jean Murdock, daughter of the 
late William Murdock, joiner, cousin of the subject of 
this biography. 

Arrival at Soho. 125 

When William arrived at Soho in 1777 he called at 
the works to ask for employment. Watt was then in 
Cornwall, looking after his pumping-engines ; but he 
saw Boulton, who was usually accessible to callers of 
every rank. In answer to Murdock's inquiry whether 
he could have a job, Boulton replied that work was 
very slack with them, and that every place was filled 
up. During the brief conversation that took place, 
the blate young Scotchman, like most country lads in 
the presence of strangers, had some difficulty in know- 
ing what to do with his hands, and unconsciously kept 
twirling his hat with them. Boulton's attention was 
attracted to the twirling hat, which seemed to be of a 
peculiar make. It was not a felt hat, nor a cloth hat, 
nor a glazed hat ; but it seemed to be painted, and 
composed of some unusual material. " That seems to 
be a curious sort of hat," said Boulton, looking at it 
more closely; "what is it made of?" "Timmer, sir," 
said Murdock, modestly. " Timmer ? Do you mean 
to say that it is made of wood?" '"Deed it is, sir." 
"And pray how was it made?" "I made it mysel', 
sir, in a bit laithey of my own contrivin'." "In- 
deed !" 

Boulton looked at the young man again. He had 
risen a hundred degrees in his estimation. William 
was a good-looking fellow tall, strong, and handsome 
with an open, intelligent countenance. Besides, he 
had been able to turn a hat for himself with a lathe of 
his own construction. This, of itself, was a sufficient 
proof that he was a mechanic of no mean skill. 
" Well !" said Boulton, at last, " I will inquire at the 
works, and see if there is anything we can set you to. 
Call again, my man." " Thank you, sir," said Mur- 
dock, giving a final twirl to his hat. 

Such was the beginning of William Murdock's con- 
nection with the firm of Boulton & Watt. When he 

12) ]\' ill him Murdoch. 

called again he was put upon a trial job, and then, as 
he was found satisfactory, he was engaged for two 
years at 155. a week when at home, 17s. when in the 
country, and 18s. when in London. Boulton's engage- 
ment of Murdock was amply justified by the result. 
Beginning as an ordinary mechanic, he applied him- 
self diligently and conscientiously to his work, and 
gradually became trusted. More responsible duties 
were confided to him, and he strove to perform them 
to the best of his power. His industry, skilfulness, 
and sobriety soon marked him for promotion, and he 
rose from grade to grade until he became Boulton & 
Watt's most trusted co-worker and adviser in all their 
mechanical undertakings of importance. 

"Watt himself had little confidence in Scotchmen as 
mechanics. He told Sir Walter Scott that though 


many of them sought employment at his works, he 
could never get any of them to become first-rate work- 
men. They might be valuable as clerks and book- 
keepers, but they had an insuperable aversion to toil- 
ing long at any point of mechanism, so as to obtain 
the highest wages paid to the workmen.* The reason 
no doubt was, that the working-people of Scotland were 
then only in course of education as practical mechan- 
ics; and now that they have had a century's discipline 
of work and technical training, the result is altogether 
different, as the engine-shops and ship-building yards 
of the Clyde abundantly prove. Mechanical power 
and technical ability are the result of training, like 
many other things. 

When Boulton engaged Murdock, as we have said, 
Watt was absent in Cornwall, looking after the pump- 
ing-engines which had been erected at several of the 
mines throughout that county. The partnership had 

* Note to Lockhart's "Life of Scott." 

Murdoch in Cornwall. 127 

only been in existence for three years, and Watt was 
still struggling with the difficulties which he had to 
surmount in getting the steam-engine into practical 
use. His health was bad, and he was oppressed with 
frightful headaches. He was not the man to fight the 
selfishness of the Cornish adventurers. " A little more 
of this hurrying and vexation," he said, " will knock 
me up altogether." Boulton went to his help occa- 
sionally, and gave him hope and courage. And at 
length William Murdock, after he had acquired suf- 
ficient knowledge of the business, was able to under- 
take the principal management of the engines in Corn- 

We find that in 1779, when he was only twenty-five 
years old, he was placed in this important position. 
When he went into Cornwall, he gave himself no rest 
until he had conquered the defects of the engines, and 
put them into thorough working order. He devoted 
himself to his duties with a zeal and ability that com- 
pletely won Watt's heart. When he had an important 
job in hand, he could scarcely sleep. One night at his 
lodgings at Redruth, the people were disturbed by a 
strange noise in his room. Several heavy blows were 
heard upon the floor. They started from their beds, 
rushed to Murdock's room, and found him standing in 
his shirt, heaving at the bedpost in his sleep, shouting, 
"Now she goes, lads ! now she goes !" 

Murdock became a most popular man with the mine 
owners. He also became friendly with the Cornish 
workmen and engineers. Indeed, he fought his way 
to their affections. One day, some half-dozen of the 
mining captains came into his engine-room at Chace- 
water, and began bullying him. This he could not 
stand. He stripped, selected the biggest, and put him- 
self into a fighting attitude. They set to, and in a few 
minutes Murdock's powerful bones and muscles en- 

128 I!'/7/;//7 

abled liiiu t> achieve the victory. The other men, who 
had looked on fairly, without interfering, seeing the 
teni])er and vigor of the man they had bullied, made 
overtures of reconciliation. William was quite will- 
ing to be friendly. Accordingly they shook hands 
all round, and parted the best of friends. It is also 
said that Murdock afterwards fought in a duel with 
Captain Trevethick, because of a quarrel between 
Watt and the mining engineer, in which Murdock con- 

o o 

ceived his master to have been unfairly and harshly 

The uses of Watt's steam-engine began to be recog- 
nized as available for manufacturing purposes. It was 
then found necessary to invent some method by which 
continuous rotary motion should be secured, so as to 
turn round the moving machinery of mills. With this 
object Watt had invented his original w T heel-engine. 
But no steps were taken to introduce it into practical 
use. At length he prepared a model, in which he made 
use of a crank connected with the working-beam of 
the engine, so as to produce the necessary rotary mo- 

There was no originality in this application. The 
crank was one of the most common of mechanical ap- 
pliances. It was in daily use in every spinning-wheel, 
and in every turner's and knife-grinder's foot-lathe. 
Watt did not take out a patent for the crank, not be- 
lieving it to be patentable. But another person did 
so, thereby anticipating Watt in the application of the 
crank for producing rotary motion. He had therefore 
to employ some other method, and in the new contriv- 
ance he had the valuable help of William Murdock. 
Watt devised five different methods of securing rotary 

* This was stated to the present writer some years ago by William 
Murdock's son ; although there is no other record of the event. 

" Sun-and-planet Motion" 129 

motion without using the crank, but eventually he 
adopted the " Sun - and - planet motion," the invention 
of Murdock. This had the singular property of going 
twice round for every stroke of the engine, and might 
be made to go round much oftener without additional 
machinery. The invention was patented in February, 
1782, five years after Murdock had entered the service 
of Boulton & Watt. 

Murdock continued for many years busily occupied 
in superintending the Cornish steam-engines. We find 
him described by his employers as "flying from mine 
to mine," putting the engines to rights. If anything 
went wrong, he was immediately sent for. He was 
active, quick-sighted, shrewd, sober, and thoroughly 
reliable. Down to the year 1780 his wages were only 
a pound a week; but Boulton made him a present of 
ten guineas, to which the owners of the United Mines 
added another ten, in acknowledgment of the admira- 
ble manner in which he had erected their new engine, 
the chairman of the company declaring that he was 
"the most obliging and industrious workman he had 
ever known." That he secured the admiration of the 
Cornish engineers may be obvious from the fact of 
Mr. Boaze having invited him to join in an engi- 
neering partnership; but Murdock remained loyal to 
the Birmingham firm, and in due time he had his re- 

He continued to be the " right - hand man " of the 
concern in Cornwall. Boulton wrote to Watt, towards 
the end of 1782 : "Murdock hath been indefatigable 
ever since he began. He has scarcely been in bed or 
taken necessary food. After slaving night and day on 
Thursday and Friday, a letter came from Wheal Vir- 
gin that he must go instantly to set their engine to 
work or they would let out the fire. He went and set 
the engine to work; it worked well for the five or six 


130 William Murdoch. 

hours lie remained. He left it, and returned to the 
Consolidated Mines about eleven at night, and was 
employed about the engines till four this morning, 
and then went to bed. I found him at ten this morn- 
ing in Poldice Cistern, seeking for pins and castors 
that had jumped out, when I insisted on his going 
home to bed." 

On one occasion, when an engine superintended by 
Murdock stopped through some accident, the water 
rose in the mine, and the workmen were "drowned 
out." Upon this occurring, the miners went "roaring 
at him." for throwing them out of work, and threat- 

O * 

ened to tear him to pieces. Nothing daunted, he went 
through the midst of the men, repaired the invalided 
engine, and started it afresh. When he came out of 

ZD s 

the engine-house the miners cheered him vociferously, 
and insisted upon carrying him home upon their shoul- 
ders in triumph ! 

Steam was now asserting its power everywhere. It 
was pumping water from the mines in Cornwall and 
driving the mills of the manufacturers in Lancashire. 


Speculative mechanics began to consider whether it 
might not be employed as a means of land locomotion. 
The comprehensive mind of Sir Isaac Xewton had long 
before, in his " Explanation of the Newtonian Philoso- 
phy," thrown out the idea of employing steam for this 
purpose; but no practical experiment was made. Ben- 
jamin Franklin, while agent in London for the United 
Provinces of America, had a correspondence with Mat- 
thew Boulton, of Birmingham, and Dr. Darwin, of 
Lichfield, on the same subject. Boulton sent a model 
of a fire-engine to London for Franklin's inspection; 
but Franklin was too much occupied at the time by 
grave political questions to pursue the subject further. 
Erasmus Darwin's speculative mind was inflamed by 
the idea of a "fiery chariot," and he urged his friend 

The First Locomotive. 131 

Boulton to prosecute the contrivance of the necessary 
steam machinery.* 

Other minds were at work. Watt, when only twen- 
ty-three years old, at the instigation of his friend Rob- 
ison, made a model locomotive, provided with two cyl- 
inders of tin plate; but the project was laid aside, and 
was never again taken up by the inventor. Yet, in 
his patent of 1784, Watt included an arrangement by 
means of which steam-power might be employed for 
the purposes of locomotion. But no further model of 
the contrivance was made. 

Meanwhile, Cugnot, of Paris, had already made a 
road-engine worked by steam-power. It was first tried 
at the arsenal, in 1769; and, being set in motion, it ran 
against a stone wall in its way, and threw it down. 
The engine was afterwards tried in the streets of Paris. 
In one of the experiments it fell over with a crash, and 
was thenceforward locked up in the arsenal to prevent 
its doing further mischief. This first locomotive is 
now to be seen at the Conservatoire des Arts et Me- 
tiers, at Paris. 

Murdock had doubtless heard of Watt's original 


speculations, and proceeded, while at Redruth, during 
his leisure hours, to construct a model locomotive after 
a design of his own. This model was of small dimen- 
sions, standing little more than a foot and a half high, 
though it was sufficiently large to demonstrate the 
soundness of the principle on which it was construct- 
ed. It was supported on three wheels, and carried a 
small copper boiler, heated by a spirit-lamp, with a flue 
passing obliquely through it. The cylinder, of three- 
quarter-inch diameter and two-inch stroke, was fixed 
in the top of the boiler, the piston-rod being connect- 

* See "Lives of Engineers 1 ' (Boulton & Watt), vol. iv. pp. 182-184. 
Small edition, pp. 130-132. 

132 William Murdoch. 

cd with the vibratory beam attached to the connect- 
ing-rod which worked the crank of the driving-wheel. 

o o 

This little engine worked by the expansive force of 
steam only, which was discharged into the atmosphere 
after it had done its work of alternately raising and 
depressing the piston in the cylinder. 

Mr. Murdock's son, while living at Handsworth, in- 
formed the present writer that this model was invented 
and constructed in 1781; but, after perusing the cor- 
respondence of Boulton & Watt, we infer that it was 
not ready for trial until 1784. The first experiment 
was made in Murdock's own house at Redruth, when 
the little engine successfully hauled a model wagon 
round the room, the single wheel, placed in front of 
the engine and working in a swivel frame, enabling it 
to run round in a circle. 

Another experiment was made out of doors, on which 
occasion, small though the engine was, it fairly outran 
the speed of its inventor. One night, after returning 
from his duties at the mine at Redruth, Murdock went 
with his model locomotive to the avenue leading to the 
church, about a mile from the town. The walk was 
narrow, straight, and level. Having lighted the lamp, 
the water soon boiled, and off started the engine with 
the inventor after it. Shortly after he heard distant 
shouts of terror. It was too dark to perceive objects, 
but he found, on following up the machine, that the 
cries had proceeded from the worthy vicar, who, while 
going along the walk, had met the hissing and fiery lit- 
tle monster, which he declared he took to be the Evil 
One in propria persona ! 

When Watt was informed of Murdock's experi- 
ments, he feared that they might interfere with his reg- 
ular duties, and advised their discontinuance. Should 
Murdock still resolve to continue them, then Watt 
urged his partner, Boulton, then in Cornwall, that, 

His Model Locomotive. 133 

rather than lose Murdock's services, they should ad- 
vance him 100; and, if he succeeded within a year 
in making an engine capable of drawing a post-chaise 
carrying two passengers and the driver, at the rate of 
four miles an hour, that a locomotive-engine business 
should be established, with Murdock as a partner. The 
arrangement, however, never proceeded any further. 
Perhaps a different attraction withdrew Murdock from 
his locomotive experiments. He was then paying at- 
tention to a young lady, the daughter of Captain Paint- 
er, and in 1785 he married her, and brought her home 
to his house in Cross Street, Redruth. 

In the following year September, 1786 Watt says, 
in a letter to Boulton, " I have still the same opinion 
concerning the steam-carriage, but, to prevent more 
fruitless argument about it, I have one of some size 
under hand. In the meantime, I wish William could 
be brought to do as we do, to mind the business in 
hand, and let such as Symington and Sadler throw 
away their time and money in hunting shadows." In 
a subsequent letter Watt expressed his gratification at 
finding " that William applies to his business." From 
that time forward Murdock, as well as Watt, dropped 
all further speculation on the subject, and left it to 
others to work out the problem of the locomotive en- 
gine. Murdock's model remained but a curious toy, 
which he took pleasure in exhibiting to his intimate 
friends; and, though he long continued to speculate 
about road locomotion, and was persuaded of its prac- 
ticability, he abstained from embodying his ideas of 
the necessary engine in any complete working form. 

Murdock, nevertheless, continued inventing, for the 
man who is given to invent, and who possesses the gift 
of insight, cannot rest. He lived in the midst of in- 
ventors. Watt and Boulton were constantly suggest- 
ing new things, and Murdock became possessed by the 

134 William Murdoch. 

same s])irit. In 1791 he took out his first patent. It 
was for a method of preserving ships' bottoms from 
foulness by the use of a certain kind of chemical paint. 
Mr. Murdock's grandson informs us that it was recent- 
ly repatented, and was the cause of a lawsuit, and that 
Hislop's patent for revivifying gas-lime would have 
been an infringement, if it had not expired. 

Murdock is still better known by his invention of 
gas for lighting purposes. Several independent in- 
quirers into the constituents of Newcastle coal had 
arrived at the conclusion that nearly one third of the 
substance was driven off in vapor by the application 
of heat, and that the vapor so driven off was inflam- 
mable. But no suggestion had been made to apply 
this vapor for lighting purposes until Murdock took 
the matter in hand. Mr. M. S. Pearse has sent us the 
following interesting reminiscence: " Some time since, 

j C_7 7 

when in the West of Cornwall, I was anxious to find out 
whether any one remembered Murdock. I discovered 
one of the most respectable and intelligent men in 
Camborne, Mr. William Symons, who not only dis- 
tinctly remembered Murdock, but had actually been 
present on one of the first occasions when gas was 
used. Murdock, he says, was very fond of children, 
and not unfrequently took them into his workshop, to 
show them what he was doing. Hence it happened 
that, on one occasion, this gentleman, then a boy of 
seven or eight, was standing outside Murdock's door 
with some other boys, trying to catch sight of some 
special mystery inside for Dr. Boaze, the chief doc- 
tor of the place, and Murdock had been busy all the 
afternoon. Murdock came out, and asked my inform- 
ant to run down to a shop near by for a thimble. On 
returning with the thimble, the boy pretended to have 
lost it, and, while searching in every pocket, he man- 
aged to slip inside the door of the workshop, and then 

The First Gas-light. 135 

produced the thimble. He found Dr. Boaze and Mur- 
dock with a kettle filled with coal. The gas issuing 
from it had been burned in a large metal case, such as 
was used for blasting purposes. Now, however, they 
had applied a much smaller tube, and at the end of it 
fastened the thimble, through the small perforations 
made in which they burned a continuous jet for some 

After numerous experiments, Murdock had his house 
in Cross Street fitted up, in 1792, for being lighted by 
gas. The coal was subjected to heat in an iron retort, 
and the gas was conveyed in pipes to the offices and 
the different rooms of the house, where it was burned 
at proper apertures or burners.f Portions of the gas 
were also confined in portable vessels of tinned iron, 
from which it w r as burned when required, thus form- 
ing a movable gaslight. Murdock had a gas lantern 
in regular use, for the purpose of lighting himself 
home at night across the moors from the mines where 
he was working to his home at Redruth. This lan- 
tern w r as formed by filling a bladder with gas and fix- 
ing a jet to the mouth-piece at the bottom of a glass 
lantern, w r ith the bladder hamnnor underneath. 

' O O 

Having satisfied himself as to the superior economy 
of coal gas as compared with oils and tallow for the 
purposes of artificial illumination, Murdock mentioned 
the subject to Mr. James Watt, junior, during a brief 

* Mr. Pearse's letter is dated 23d of April, 1867, but has not be- 
fore been published. He adds that " others remembered Murdock: 
one who was an apprentice with him, and lived with him for some 
time a Mr. Vivian, of the foundry at Luckingmill." 

f Murdock's house still stands in Cross Street, Redruth; those still 
live who saw the gas-pipes conveying gas from the retort in the little 
yard to near the ceiling of the room, just over the table ; a hole for 
the pipe was made in the window-frame. The old window is now 
replaced by a new frame." Life of Richard Trevelhick, vol. i. 
p. Gi. 

130 William M unlock. 

\ Nit to Soho, in 1794, and urged the propriety of tak- 
ing i tut a patent. Watt was, however, indifferent to 
taking out any further patents, being still engaged in 
contesting with the Cornish mine-owners his father's 


rights to the user of the condensing steam-engine. 

<J d5 ^j 

Nothing definite was done at the time. Mnrdock re- 
turned to Cornwall, and continued his experiments. 
At the end of the same year he exhibited to Mr. Phil- 
lips and others, at the Polgooth mine, his apparatus 
for extracting gases from coal and other substances, 
showed it in use, lighted the gas which issued from 
the burner, and showed its "strong and beautiful 
light." lie afterwards exhibited the same apparatus 
to Tregelles and others at the Neath Abbey Company's 
iron-works, in Glamorganshire. 

Murdock returned to Soho in 1798, to take up his 
permanent residence in the neighborhood. When the 
mine-owners heard of his intention to leave Cornwall, 
they combined in offering him a handsome salary pro- 
vided he would remain in the county; but his attach- 
ment to his friends at Soho would not allow him to 
comply with their request. He again urged the firm 
of Boulton & Watt to take out a patent for the use 
of gas for lighting purposes. But, being still em- 
broiled in their tedious and costly lawsuit, they were 
naturally averse to risk connection with any other pat- 
ent. Watt the vounsjer, with whom Mnrdock com- 


municated on the subject, was aware that the current 
of gas obtained from the distillation of coal in Lord 
Dundonald's tar-ovens had been occasionally set fire 
to, and also that Bishop Watson and others had burned 
gas from coal, after conducting it through tubes, or as 
it had issued from the retort. Mr. Watt was, however, 
quite satisfied that Murdock was the first person who 
had suggested its economical application for public and 
private uses. But he was not clear, after the legal dif- 

His Many Inventions. 137 

ficultics which had been raised as to his father's pat- 
ent rights, that it would be safe to risk a further pat- 
ent for gas. 

Mr. Murdock's suggestion, accordingly, was not act- 
ed upon. But he went on inventing in other direc- 
tions. He thenceforward devoted himself entirely to 
mechanical pursuits. Mr. Buckle has said of him : 
"The rising sun often found him, after a night spent 
in incessant labor, still at the anvil or turning-lathe; 
for with his own hands he would make such articles 
as he would not intrust to unskilful ones." In 1799 
he took out a patent (No. 2340) embodying some very 
important inventions. First, it included the endless 
screw working into a toothed wheel, for boring steam- 
cylinders, which is still in use. Second, the casting of a 
steam-jacket in one cylinder, instead of being made in 
separate segments bolted together with caulked joints, 
as was previously done. Third, the new double-D 
slide-valve, by which the construction and working of 
the steam-engine was simplified, and the loss of steam 
saved; as well as the cylindrical valve for the same 
purpose. And, fourth, an improved rotary engine. 
One of them was set to drive the machines in his pri- 
vate workshop, and continued in nearly constant work 
and in perfect use for about thirty years. 

In 1801 Murdock sent his two sons, William and 
John, to the Ayr Academy for the benefit of Scotch 
education. In the summer-time they spent their vaca- 
tion at Bellow Mill, which their grandfather still con- 
tinued to occupy. They fished in the river, and " caught 
a good many trout." The boys corresponded regular- 
ly with their father at Birmingham. In 1804 they 
seem to have been in a state of great excitement about 
the expected landing of the French in Scotland. The 
volunteers of Ayr amounted to three hundred men, 
the cavalry to one hundred and fifty, and the riflemen 

138 Win I am Murdoch. 

to fifty. "The riflemen/ 1 says John, " go to the sea- 
shoiv every Saturday to shoot at a target. They stand 
at seventy paces distant, and out of one hundred shots 
they often put in sixty bullet ^l" 1 William says, " Great 
] "reparations are still making for the reception of the 
French. Several thousand of pikes are carried through 
the town every week; and all the volunteers and rifle- 
men have received orders to march at a moment's warn- 
ing." The alarm, however, passed away. At the end 
of 1804 the two boys received prizes; William got one 
in arithmetic and another in the rector's composition 
class; and John also obtained two, one in the mathe- 
matical class, and the other in French. 

To return to the application of gas for lighting pur- 
poses. In 1801 a plan was proposed by a M. Le Blond 
for lighting a part of the streets of Paris with gas. 
Murdock actively resumed his experiments; and on the 
occasion of the Peace of Amiens, in March, 1802, he 
made the first public exhibition of his invention. The 
whole of the works at Soho were brilliantly illuminated 
with gas. The sight was received with immense en- 
thusiasm. There could now be no doubt as to the 
enormous advantages of this method of producing arti- 
ficial light compared with that from oil or tallow. In 
the following year the manufacture of gas-making ap- 
paratus was added to the other branches of Boulton & 
Watt's business, with which Mnrdock was now asso- 
ciated, and as much as from 4000 to 5000 of capital 
were invested in the new works. The new method of 
lighting speedily became popular among manufacturers 
from its superior safety, cheapness, and illuminating 
power. The mills of Phillips & Lee, of Manchester, 
were fitted up in 1805, and those of Burley & Ken- 
nedy, also of Manchester, and of Messrs. Gott, of Leeds, 
in subsequent years. 

Though Murdock had made the uses of gas-lighting 

Public Gas-lighting. 139 

perfectly clear, it was some time before it was proposed 
to light the streets by the new method. The idea was 
ridiculed by Sir Humphry Davy, who asked one of 
the projectors if he intended to take the dome of St. 
Paul's for a gasometer! Sir Walter Scott made many 
clever jokes about those who proposed to " send light 
through the streets in pipes;" and even Wollaston, a 
well-known man of science, declared that they " might 
as well attempt to light London with a slice from the 
moon." It has been so with all new projects with 
the steamboat, the locomotive, and the electric tele- 
graph. As John Wilkinson said of the first vessel of 
iron which he introduced, " it will be only a nine-days' 
wonder, and afterwards a Columbus's egg." 

On the 25th of February, 1808, Murdock read a pa- 
per before the Royal Society " On the Application of 
Gas from Coal to Economical Purposes." He gave a 
history of the origin and progress of his experiments 
down to the time when he had satisfactorily lighted up 
the premises of Phillips & Lee at Manchester. The 
paper was modest and unassuming, like everything he 
did. It concluded: "I believe I may, without pre- 
suming too much, claim both the first idea of applying 
and the first application of this gas to economical pur- 
poses."* The Royal Society awarded Murdock their 
large Rumford Gold Medal for his communication. 

In the following year a German named Wintzer, or 
Winsor, appeared as the promoter of a scheme for ob- 
taining a royal charter with extensive privileges, and 
applied for powers to form a joint-stock company to 
light part of London and Westminster with gas. Win- 
sor claimed for his method of gas manufacture that it 
was more efficacious and profitable than any then known 
or practised. The profits, indeed, were to be prodig- 

Philosophical Transactions" (1808), pp. 124-132. 

140 William Murdoch. 

ions. Winsor made an elaborate calculation in his 
pamphlet, entitled "The New Patriotic Imperial and 
National Light and Heat Company," from which it 
appeared that the net annual profits "agreeable to the 
official experiments" would amount to over 229,000,- 
000! and that, giving over nine tenths of that sum tow- 
ards the redemption of the national debt, there would 
still remain a total profit of 570 to be paid to the sub- 
scribers for every 5 of deposit! Winsor took out a 
patent for the invention, and the company, of which 
he was a member, proceeded to Parliament for an 
act. Boulton & Watt petitioned against the bill, and 
James Watt, junior, gave evidence on the subject. 
Henry Brougham, who was the counsel for the peti- 
tioners, made great fun of Winsor's absurd specula- 
tions,* and the bill was thrown out. 

In the following year the London and Westminster 
Chartered Gas-light and Coke Company succeeded in 
obtaining their act. They were not very successful at 
first. Many prejudices existed against the employment 
of the new light. It was popularly supposed that the 
gas was carried along the pipes on fire, and that the 
pipes must necessarily be intensely hot. When it was 
proposed to light the House of Commons with gas, the 
architect insisted on the pipes being placed several 

* Winsor's family evidently believed in his great powers ; for I am 
informed by Francis Gallon, Esq., F.R.S., that there is a fantastical 
monument on the right-hand side of the central avenue of the Kensal 
Green Cemetery, about half-way between the lodge and the church, 
which bears the following inscription : 

"Tomb of Frederick Albert Winsor, son of the late Frederick Al- 
bert Winsor, originator of public Gas-lighting, buried in the Cemetery 
of Pere la Chaise, Paris. 

" 'At evening time it shall be light.' Zechariah xiv. 7. 

" 'I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth in 
Mo shall not abide in darkness.' John xii. 4G." 

Gas-lighting Schemes. 141 

inches from the walls, for fear of fire ; and, after the 
pipes had been fixed, the members might be seen ap- 
plying their gloved hands to them to ascertain their 
temperature, and afterwards expressing the greatest 
surprise on finding that they were as cool as the ad- 
joining walls. 

The gas company was on the point of dissolution 
when Mr. Samuel Clegg came to their aid. Clegg had 
been a pupil of Murdock's, at Soho. He knew all the 
arrangements which Murdock had invented. He had 
assisted in fitting up the gas machinery at the mills of 
Phillips & Lee, Manchester, as well as at Lodge's Mill, 
Sowerby Bridge, near Halifax. He was afterwards 
employed to fix the apparatus at the Catholic College 
of Stoneyhurst, in Lancashire, at the manufactory of 
Mr. Harris, at Coventry, and at other places. In 1813 
the London and Westminster Gas Company secured 
the services of Mr. Clegg, and from that time forward 
their career was one of prosperity. " In 1814 Westmin- 
ster Bridge was first lighted with gas, and shortly after 
the streets of St. Margaret's, Westminster. Crowds of 
people followed the lamplighter on his rounds to watch 
the sudden effect of his flame applied to the invisible 
stream of gas which issued from the burner. The 
lamplighters became so disgusted with the new light 
that they struck work, and Clegg himself had for a 
time to act as lamplighter. 

The advantages of the new light, however, soon be- 
came generally recognized, and gas companies were 
established in most of the larsre towns. Glasgow was 

o o 

lighted up by gas in 1817, and Liverpool and Dublin 
in the following* year. Had Murdock, in the first in- 
stance, taken out a patent for his invention, it could 
not fail to have proved exceedingly remunerative to 
him; but he derived no advantage from the extended 
use of the new system of lighting except the honor of 

142 William Murdoch. 

having invented it.* lie loft the benefits of his inven- 
tion to the public, and returned to his labors at Soho, 
which more than ever completely engrossed him. 

Murdock now became completely identified with the 
firm of Boulton & Watt. He assigned to them his 
patent for the slide-valve, the rotary engine, and other 
inventions " for a good and valuable consideration." 
Indeed, his able management was almost indispensable 
to the continued success of the Soho foundery. Mr. 
Kasmyth, when visiting the works about thirty years 
after M unlock had taken their complete management 
in hand, recalled to mind the valuable services of that 
truly admirable yet modest mechanic. He observed 
the admirable system which he had invented of trans- 
mitting power from one central engine to other small 
vacuum engines attached to the several machines 
which they were employed to work. "This vacuum 
method," he says, " of transmitting power dates from 
the time of Papin; but it remained a dead contrivance 
for about a century, until it received the masterly 
touch of Murdock." 

" The sight which I obtained " (Mr. Nasmyth pro- 
ceeds) " of the vast series of workshops of that cele- 
brated establishment, fitted with evidences of the pres- 
ence and results of such master minds in design and 
execution, and the special machine tools which I be- 

* Mr. Parkes, in his well-known "Chemical Essays" (ed. 1841. 
p. 157), after referring to the successful lighting up by Murdock of 
the manufactory of Messrs. Phillips & Lee at Manchester, in 1805, 
"with coal-gas issuing from nearly a thousand burners," proceeds: 
" This grand application of the new principle satisfied the public mind, 
not only of the practicability, but also of the ecctnomy of the applica- 
tion ; and, as a mark of the high opinion they entertained of his genius 
and perseverance, and in order to put the question of priority of the 
discovery beyond all doubt, the Council of the Royal Society, in 1808, 
awarded to Mr. Murdock the gold medal founded by the late Count 

Manly on Murdoch. 143 

lieve were chiefly to be ascribed to the admirable in- 
ventive power and common-sense genius of William 
Murdock, made me feel that I was, indeed, on classic 
ground in regard to everything connected with the 
construction of steam-engine machinery. The interest 
was in no small degree enhanced by coming every now 
and then upon some machine that had every historical 
claim to be regarded as the prototype of many of our 
modern machine tools. All these had William Mur- 
dock's genius stamped upon them, by reason of their 
common-sense arrangements, which showed that he 
was one of those original thinkers who had the cour- 
age to break away from the trammels of traditional 
methods, and take short cuts to accomplish his objects 
by direct and simple means." 

We have another recollection of William Murdock 
from one who knew him when a boy. This is the ven- 
erable Charles Manby, F.R.S., still honorary secretary 
of the Institute of Civil Engineers. He says (writing 
to us in September, 1883) : " I see from the public prints 
that you have been presiding at a meeting intended to 
do honor to the memory of William Murdock a most 
worthy man and an old friend of mine. When he 
found me working the first slide-valve ever introduced 
into an engine-building establishment at Horsley, he 
patted me on the head, and said to my father, 'Neigh- 
bor Manby, this is not the way to bring up a good 
workman merely turning a handle, without any shoul- 
der work.' He evidently did not anticipate any great 
results from my engineering education. But we all 
know what machine tools are doin^ now and where 


should we be without them?" 

Watt withdrew from the firm in 1800, on the expiry 
of his patent for the condensing steam-engine ; but 
Boulton continued until the year 1809, when he died 
full of years and honors. Watt lived on until 1819. 

14 1 Wit I ii im Murdoch. 

The l;isl part of his lift- was the happieM. During the 
time that he was in the throes of his invention, lie was 
very miserable, weighed down with dyspepsia and sick- 
headaches. Hut after his patent had expired, lie was 
aide to retire with a moderate fortune, and began to 
enjoy life. Before, he had "cursed his inventions," 
now he could bless them. He was able to survey 
them, and find out what was right and what was 
wrong. He employed his head and his hands in his 
private workshop, and found many means of enjoying 
both pleasantly. Murdock continued to be his fa>t 
friend, and they spent many agreeable hours together. 
They made experiments and devised improvements in 
machines. Watt wished to make things more simple. 
He said to Murdock, "it is a great thing to know what 
to do without. We must have a book of blots things 


to be scratched out." One of the most interesting 


schemes of Watt towards the end of his life was the 
contrivance of a sculpture-making machine; and he 
proceeded so far with it as to be able to present cop- 
ies of busts to his friends as "the productions of a 
young artist just entering his eighty-third year." The 
machine, however, remained unfinished at his death, 
and the remarkable fact is that it was Watt's only un- 
finished work. 

The principle of the machine was to carry a guide- 
point at one side over the bust or alto-relievo to be 
copied, and at the other side to carry a corresponding 
cutting-tool or drill over the alabaster, ivory, jet, or 
plaster of Paris to be executed. The machine worked, 
as it were, with two hands, the one feeling the pattern, 
the other cutting the material into the required form. 
Many new alterations were necessary for carrying out 
this ingenious apparatus, and Murdock was always at 
hand to give his old friend and master his best assist- 
ance. We have seen many original letters from Watt 

Watt's Sculpture Machine. 145 

to Mai-dock, asking for counsel and help. In one of 
these, written in 1808, Watt says : "I have revived an 
idea which, if it answers, will supersede the frame and 
upright spindle of the reducing machine, but more of 
this when we meet. Meanwhile it w^ill be proper to 
adhere to the frame, etc., at present, until we see how 
the other alterations answer." In another he says: "I 
have done a Cicero without any plaits the different 
segments meeting exactly. The fitting the drills into 
the spindle by a taper of one in six wall do. They are 
perfectly stiff, and will not unscrew easily. Four guide- 
pulleys answer, but there must be a pair for the other 
end, and to work with a single hand, for the returning 
part is always cut upon some part or other of the 

These letters are written sometimes in the morning, 
sometimes at noon, sometimes at night. There was a 
great deal of correspondence about " pulleys," which 
did not seem to answer at first. " I have made the 
tablets," said Watt on one occasion, " slide more easi- 
ly, and can counterbalance any j their weight 
which may be necessary ; but the first tiling to try is 
the solidity of the machine, which cannot be done till 
the pulleys are mounted." Then again : " The bust- 
making must be given up until we get a more solid 
frame. I have worked two days at one and spoiled 
it, principally from the want of steadiness." For 
Watt, it must be remembered, was now a very old 

He then proceeded to send Murdock the drawing of 
a "parallel motion for the machine," to be executed 
by the workmen at Soho. The truss braces and the 
crosses were to be executed of steel, according to the 
details he enclosed. " I have warmed up," he con- 
cludes, " an old idea, and can make a machine in which 
the pentagraph and the leading screw will all be con- 


William Murdoch. 

tained in the beam, and the pattern and piece to be cut 
will remain at rest fixed upon a lath of cast iron or 
stout steel." AVatt is very particular in all his details: 
"I am sorry," he says in one note, " to trouble you with 
so many things; but the alterations on this spindle and 
socket [he annexes a drawing] may wait your conven- 
ience." In a further note, AVatt says: "The drawing 
for the parallel lathe is ready; but I have been sadly 
puzzled about the application of the leading screws to 
the cranes in the other. I think, however, I have now 
got the better of the difficulties, and made it more cer- 
tain, as well as more simple, than it was. I have done 
an excellent head of John Hunter in hard white in 
shorter time than usual. I want to show it you be- 
fore I repair it." 

At last AVatt seems to have become satisfied: "The 
lathe," he says, " is very much improved, and you seem 
to have given the finishing blow to the roofed frame, 
which appears perfectly stiff. I had some hours' in- 
tense thinking upon the machine last night, and have 
made up my mind on it at last. The great difficulty 
was about the application of the band, but I have set- 
tled it to be much as at present." 

AVatt's letters to Murdock are most particular in 
details, especially as to screws, nuts, and tubes, with 
strengths and dimensions, always illustrated with pen- 
and-ink drawings. And yet all this was done merely 
for mechanical amusement, and not for any personal 
pecuniary advantage. AA^hile AVatt was making ex- 
periments as to the proper substances to be carved 
and drilled, he also desired Murdock to make similar 
experiments. " The nitre," he said in one note, " seems 
to do harm; the fluor composition seems the best and 
hardest. Query, what would some calcined pipe-clay 
do ? If you will calcine some fire-clay by a red heat 
and pound it about a pound and send it to me, I 

Watts Correspondence. 147 

shall try to make you a mould or two in Henning's 
manner to cast this and the sulphur acid iron in. I 
have made a screwing tool for wood that seems to an- 
swer ; also one of a one-tenth diameter for marble, 
which does very well." In another note, Watt says : 
" I find my drill readily makes two thousand four hun- 
dred turns per minute, even with the large drill you 
sent last ; if I bear lightly, a three-quarter f erril would 
run about three thousand, and by an engine that might 
be doubled." 

The materials to be drilled into medallions also re- 
quired much consideration. "I am much obliged to 
you," said Watt, "for the balls, etc., which answer as 
well as can be expected. They make great progress 
in cutting the crust (Ridgways) or alabaster, and also 
cut marble, but the harder sorts soon blunt them. At 
any rate, marble does not do for the medallions, as its 
grain prevents its being cut smooth, and its semi-trans- 
parence hurts the effect. I think Bristol lime, or shell 
lime, pressed in your manner, would have a good effect. 
When you are at leisure, I shall thank you for a few 
pieces, and if some of them are made pink or flesh 
color, they will look well. I used the ball quite per- 
pendicular, and it cut well, as most of the cutting is 
sideways. I tried a fine whirling point, but it made 
little progress; another with a chisel edge did almost 
as well as the balls, but did not work so pleasantly. I 
find a triangular scraping point the best, and I think 
from some trials it should be quite a sharp point. The 
wheel runs easier than it did, but has still too much 
friction. I wished to have had an hour's consultation 
with you, but have been prevented by sundry matters, 
among others by that plaguey stove, which is now in 
your hands." 

Watt was most grateful to Murdock for his unvary- 
ing assistance. In January, 1813, when Watt was in 

14:8 William Murdoch. 

his seventy-seventh year, he wrote to Murdock, asking 
him to accept a present of a lathe. " I have not heanl 
from you," he says, " in reply to my letter about the 
lathe; and, presuming you are not otherwise provided, 
I have bought it, and request your acceptance of it. 
At present, an alteration for the better is making in 
the oval chuck, and a few additional chucks, rest, etc., 
are making to the lathe. When these are finished, I 

~ 7 

shall have it at Billinger's until you return, or as you 
otherwise direct. I am going on with my drawings 
for a complete machine, and shall be glad to see you 
here to judge of them." 

The drawings were made, but the machine was never 

O ' 

finished. " Invention," said Watt, "goes on very 
slowly with me now." Four years later, he was still 
at work ; but death put a stop to his " diminishing- 
machine." It is a remarkable testimony to the skill 


and perseverance of a man who had already accom- 
plished so much, that it was his only unfinished work. 
Watt died in 1819, in the eighty-third year of his age, 
to the great grief of Murdock, his oldest and most 
attached friend and correspondent. 

Meanwhile, the firm of Boulton & Watt continued. 
The sons of the two partners carried it on, with Mur- 
dock as their mentor. He was still full of work and 
inventive power. In 1802, he applied the compressed 
air of the blast-engine employed to blow the cupolas 
of the Soho Foundery, for the purpose of driving the 
lathe in the pattern shop. It worked a small engine, 
with a twelve-inch cylinder and eighteen-inch stroke, 
connected with the lathe, the speed being regulated as 
required by varying the admission of the blast. This 
engine continued in use for about thirty-five years. In 
1803 Murdock experimented on the power of high- 
pressure steam in propelling shot, and contrived a 
steam - engine with which he made many trials at 

Uses of Compressed Air. 149 

Soho, thereby anticipating the apparatus contrived by 
Mr. Perkins many years later. 

In 1810 Murdock took out a patent for boring steam- 
pipes for water, and cutting columns out of solid blocks 
of stone, by means of a cylindrical crown saw. The 
first machine was used at Soho, and afterwards at Mr. 
Rennie's Works in London, and proved quite success- 
ful. Among his other inventions were a lift worked 
by compressed air, which raised and lowered the cast- 
ings from the boring-mill to the level of the foundery 
and the canal bank. He used the same kind of power 
to ring the bells in his house at Sycamore Hill, and the 
contrivance was afterwards adopted by Sir Walter 
Scott in his house at Abbotsford. 

Murdock was also the inventor of the well-known 
cast-iron cement, so extensively used in engine and 
machine work. The manner in which he was led to 
this invention affords a striking illustration of his 
quickness of observation. Finding that some iron- 
borings and sal-ammoniac had got accidentally mixed 
together in his tool-chest, and rusted his saw-blade 
nearly through, he took note of the circumstance, 
mixed the articles in various proportions, and at 
length arrived at the famous cement, which eventu- 
ally became an article of extensive manufacture at the 
Soho Works. 

Murdock's ingenuity was constantly at work, even 
upon matters which lay entirely outside his special 
vocation. The late Sir William Fairbairn informed 
us that he contrived a variety of curious machines for 
consolidating peat moss, finely ground and pulverized, 
under immense pressure, and which, when consolidat- 
ed, could be moulded into beautiful medals, armlets, 
and necklaces. The material took the most brilliant 
polish and had the appearance of the finest jet. 

Observing that fish-skins might be used as an eco- 

150 WiU inm 

nomical substitute for isinglass, lie went up to London 
on one occasion in order to explain to brewers the best 
method of preparing and using them. He occupied 
handsome apartments, and, little regarding the splen- 
dor of the drawing-room, he hung the lish-skins up 
against the walls. His landlady caught him one day 
when he was about to hang up a wet cod's skin ! He 
was turned out at once, with all his fish. 

While in town on this errand, it occurred to him 
that a great deal of power was wasted in treading the 
streets of London ! lie conceived the idea of usin 


the streets and roadways as a grand treadmill, under 
which the waste power might be stored up by mechan- 
ical methods and turned to account. He had also an 
idea of storing up the power of the tides and of run- 
ning water, in the same way. The late Sir Charles 
Babbage entertained a similar idea about using the 
hot springs of Ischia or of the geysers of Iceland as 
a power necessary for condensing gases, or perhaps 
for the storage of electricity.* The latter, when per- 
fected, will probably be the greatest invention of the 
next half century. 


Another of Murdock's ingenious schemes was his 
proposed method of transmitting letters and packages 
through a tube exhausted by an air-pump. This proj- 
ect led to the atmospheric railway, the success of 
which, so far as it went, was due to the practical abil- 
ity of Murdock's pupil, Samuel Clegg. Although the 
atmospheric railway was eventually abandoned, it is 
remarkable that the original idea was afterwards re- 

* " Thus," says Sir Charles Babbage, "in a future age, power may 
become the staple commodity of the Icelanders, and of the inhabitants 
of other volcanic districts ; and possibly the very process by which 
they \\ill procure this article of exchange for the luxuries of happier 
climates may, in some measure, tame the tremendous element which 
occasionally devastates their provinces." Economy of Manufactures. 

Engines for Steamboats. 151 

vivecl and practised with success by the London Pneu- 
matic Dispatch Company. 

In 1815, while Murdock was engaged in erecting an 
apparatus of his own invention for heating the water 
for the baths at Leamington, a ponderous cast - iron 
plate fell upon his leg above his ankle, and severely 
injured him. He remained a long w r hile at Leaming- 
ton, and when it w r as thought safe to remove him, the 
Birmingham Canal Company kindly placed their ex- 
cursion boat at his disposal, and he was conveyed 
safely homeward. So soon as he was able, he was at 
work again at the Soho factory. 

Although the elder Watt had to a certain extent 
ignored the uses of steam as applied to navigation, 
being too much occupied with developing the powers 
of the pumping and rotary engine, the young partners, 
with the stout aid of Murdock, took up the question. 
They supplied Fulton in 1807 with his first engine, by 
means of which the Clermont made her first voyage 
along the Hudson River. They also supplied Fulton 
& Livingston with the next two engines for the Car 
of Neptune and the Paragon. From that time for- 
ward, Boulton <fe Watt devoted themselves to the 
manufacture of engines for steamboats. Up to the 
year 1814 marine engines had been all applied singly 
in the vessel; but in this year Boulton & Watt first 
applied two condensing engines, connected by cranks 
set at right angles on the shaft, to propel a steamer on 
the Clyde. Since then, nearly all steamers are fitted 
with two engines. In making this important improve- 
ment, the firm were materially aided by the mechan- 
ical genius of William Murdock, and also of Mr. 
Brown, then an assistant, but afterwards a member 
of the firm. 

In order to carry on a set of experiments with re- 
spect to the most improved form of marine engine, 

152 William Murdoch. 

Boulton & Watt purchased the Caledonia, a Scotch 
boat built on the Clyde by James Wood & Co., of 
Port Glasgow. The engines and boilers were taken 
out. The vessel was fitted with two side-lever en- 
gines, and many successive experiments were made 
with her down to August, 1817, at an expense of 
about 10,000. This led to a settled plan of con- 
struction, by which marine engines were greatly im- 
proved. James Watt, junior, accompanied the Cale- 
donia to Holland and up the Rhine. The vessel was 
eventually sold to the Danish government, and used 
for carrying the mails between Kiel and Copenhagen. 
It is, however, unnecessary here to venture upon the 
further history of steam navigation. 

In the midst of these repeated inventions and ex- 
periments, Murdock was becoming an old man. Yet 
he never ceased to take an interest in the works at 
Soho. At length his faculties experienced a gradual 
decay, and he died peacefully at his house at Syca- 
more Hill, on the 15th of November, 1839, in his 
eighty-fifth year. He was buried near the remains 
of the great Boulton and Watt ; and a bust by Chant- 
rey served to perpetuate the remembrance of his man- 
ly and intelligent countenance. 



"The honest projector is he who, having by fair and plain princi- 
ples of sense, honesty, and ingenuity, brought any contrivance to a 
suitable perfection, makes out what he pretends to, picks nobody's 
pocket, puts his project in execution, and contents himself with the 
real produce as the profit of his invention.'' DE FOE. 

I PUBLISHED an article in Macmillan^s Magazine for 
December, 1869, under the above title. The materials 
were principally obtained from William and Frederick 
Koenig, sons of the inventor. Since then an elaborate 
life has been published at Stuttgart, under the title of 
"Friederich Koenig und die Erfindung der Schnell- 
presse, ein Biographisches Denkmal. Von Theodor 
Goebel." The author, in sending me a copy of the 
volume, refers to the article published in Macmillan^ 
and says, "I hope you will please to accept it as a 
small acknowledgment of the thanks which every 
German, and especially the sons of Koenig, in whose 
name I send the book as well as in mine, owe to you 
for having bravely taken up the cause of the much- 
wronged inventor, their father an action all the more 
praiseworthy, as you had to write against the preju- 
dices and the interests of your own countrymen." 

I believe it is now generally admitted that Koenig 
was entitled to the merit of being the first person 
practically to apply the power of steam to indefinite- 
ly multiplying the productions of the printing-press ; 

and that no one now attempts to deny him this honor. 
It is true others, "who followed him, greatly improved 
upon his first idea ; but this was the ease with Watt, 
Symington, C'rompton, Maudslay, and many more. 
The true inventor is not merely the man who regis- 
ters an idea and takes a patent for it, or who compiles 
an invention by borrowing the idea of another, im- 
proving upon or adding to his arrangements, but the 
man who constructs a machine such as has never be- 
fore been made, and which executes satisfactorily all 
the functions it was intended to perform. And this is 
what Koenig's invention did, as will be observed from 
the following brief summary of his life and labors. 

Frederick Koenig was born on the 17th of April, 
1774, at Eisleben, in Saxony, the birthplace also of a 
still more famous person, Martin Luther. His father 
was a respectable peasant proprietor, described by Herr 
Goebel as Anspdnner. But this word has now gone 
out of use. In feudal times it described the farmer 
who was obliged to keep draught-cattle to perform 
service due to the landlord. The boy received a solid 
education at the gymnasium, or public school of the 
town. At proper age he was bound apprentice for 
five years to Breitkopf & Hart el, of Leipzig, as com- 
positor and printer; but, after serving for four and a 
quarter years, he was released from his engagement 
because of his exceptional skill, which was an unusual 

During the later years of his apprenticeship, Koenig 
was permitted to attend the classes of the university, 
more especially those of Ernst Platner, "physician, 
philosopher, and anthropologist." After that he pro- 
ceeded to the printing-office of his uncle, Anton F. 
Rose, at Greif swald, an old seaport town on the Baltic, 
where he remained a few years. He next went to Halle 
as a journeyman printer German workmen going 

Improvements in Printing. 155 

about from place to place, during their w cinder schaft, 
for the purpose of learning their business. After that 
he returned to Breitkopf & Hiirtel, at Leipzig, where 
he had first learned his trade. During this time, hav- 
ing saved a little money, he enrolled himself for a year 
as a regular student at the University of Leipzig. 

According to Koenig's own account, he first began 
to devise ways and means for improving the art of 
printing in the year 1802, when he was twenty-eight 
years old. Printing large sheets of paper by hand was 
a very slow as well as a very laborious process. One 
of the things that most occupied the young printer's 
mind was, how to get rid of this " horse-work," for 
such it was, in the business of printing. He was not, 
however, overburdened with means, though he devised 
a machine with this object. But, to make a little mon- 
ey, he made translations for the publishers. In 1803, 
Koenig returned to his native town of Eisleben, where 
he entered into an arrangement with Frederick Riedel, 
who furnished the necessary capital for carrying on 
the business of a printer and bookseller. Koenig al- 
leges that his reason for adopting this step was to raise 
sufficient money to enable him to carry out his plans 
for the improvement of printing. 

The business, however, did not succeed, as we find 
him in the f ollowing>year carrying on a printing trade 
at Mayence. Having sold this business, he removed 
to Suhl, in Thuringia. Here he was occupied with a 
stereotyping process, suggested by what he had read 
about the art as perfected in England by Earl Stan- 
hope. He also contrived an improved press, provided 
with a movable carriage, on which the types were placed, 
with inking-rollers, and a new mechanical method of 
taking off the impression by flat pressure. 

Koenig brought his new machine under the notice 
of the leading printers in Germany, but they would 

imt undertake to use it. The plan seemed to them too 
complicated and costly. He tried to enlist men of 
capital in his scheme, but they all turned a deaf ear 
to him. lie went from town to town, but could ob- 
tain no encouragement whatever. Besides, industrial 
enterprise in Germany was then in a measure para- 
lyzed by the impending war with France, and men of 
capital were naturally averse to risk their money on 
what seemed a merely speculative undertaking. 

Finding no sympathizers or helpers at home, Koe- 
nig next turned his attention abroad. England was 
then, as now, the refuge of inventors who could not 
find the means of bringing out their schemes else- 
where; and to England he wistfully turned his eyes. 
In the meantime, however, his inventive ability having 
become known, an offer was made to him by the Rus- 
sian government to proceed to St. Petersburg and or- 
ganize the state printing-office there. The invitation 
was accepted, and Koenig proceeded to St. Petersburg 
in the spring of 1806. But the official difficulties 
thrown in his way were so great, and so disgusted 
him, that he decided to throw up his appointment, 
and try his fortune in England. He accordingly took 
ship for London, and arrived there in the following 
November, poor in means, but rich in his great idea, 
then his only property. 

As Koenig himself said, when giving an account of 
his invention, "There is on the Continent no sort of 
encouragement for an enterprise of this description. 
The system of patents, as it exists in England, being 
either unknown or not adopted in the Continental 
states, there is no inducement for industrial enterprise, 
and projectors are commonly obliged to offer their 
discoveries to some government, and to solicit their 
encouragement. I need hardly add that scarcely ever 
is an invention brought to maturity under such cir- 

Koenig in London. 157 

cumstances. The well-known fact that almost every 
invention seeks, as it were, refuge in England, and is 
there brought to perfection, though the government 
does not afford any other protection to inventors be- 
yond what is derived from the wisdom of the laws, 
seems to indicate that the Continent has yet to learn 
from her the best manner of encouraging the mechan- 
ical arts. I had my full share in the ordinary disap- 
pointments of Continental projectors; and, after hav- 
ing lost in Germany and Russia upwards of two years 
in fruitless applications, I at last resorted to Eng- 
land." * 

After arriving in London, Koenig maintained him- 
self with difficulty by working at his trade, for his 
comparative ignorance of the English language stood 
in his way. But to work manually at the printer's 
"case" was not Koenig's object in coming to Eng- 
land. His idea of a printing-machine was always up- 
permost in his mind, and he lost no opportunity of 
bringing the subject under the notice of master print- 
ers likely to take it up. He worked for a time in the 
printing-office of Richard Taylor, Shoe Lane, Fleet 
Street, and mentioned the matter to him. Taylor 
would not undertake the invention himself, but he fur- 
nished Koenig with an introduction to Thomas Bens- 
ley, the well-known printer of Bolt Court, Fleet Street. 
On the llth of March, 1807, Bensley invited Koenig 
to meet him on the subject of their recent conversa- 
tion about "the discovery;' 1 and on the 31st of the 
same month the following agreement was entered into 
between Koenig and Bensley: 

" Mr. Koenig, having discovered an entire new Meth- 
od of Printing by Machinery, agrees to communicate 

* Koenig's letter in The. Times, 8th of December, 1814. 

158 J* / " /' rick Kocn if/. 

same to Mr. Bensley under the following condi- 
tions: that, if Mr. Bensley shall be satisfied the Inven- 
tion will answer all the purposes Mr. Koenig has stated 
in the Particulars he has delivered to Mr. Benslev, 
signed with his name, he shall enter into a legal En- 
gagement to purchase the Secret from Mr. Koenig, or 
enter into such other agreement as may be deemed 
mutually beneficial to both parties ; or, should Mr. 
Bensley wish to decline having any concern with the 
said Invention, then he engages not to make any use 
of the Machinery, or to communicate the Secret to 
any person whatsoever, until it is proved that the In- 
vention is made use of by any one without restriction 
of Patent, or other particular agreement on the part 
of Mr. Koenig, under the penalty of Six Thousand 

" (Signed) T. BEXSLEY, 

" Witness J. HUXXEMAX." 

Koenig now proceeded to put his idea in execution. 
He prepared his plans of the new printing machine. 
It seems, however, that the progress made by him was 
very slow. Indeed, three years passed before a work- 
ing model could be got ready, to show his idea in act- 
ual practice. In the meantime, Mr. Walter, of The 
Times, had been seen by Bensley, and consulted on 
the subject of the invention. On the 9th of August, 
1809, more than two years after the date of the above 
agreement, Bensley writes to Koenig: "I made a point 
of calling upon Mr. Walter yesterday, who, I am sorry 
to say, declines our proposition altogether, having (as 
he says) so many engagements as to prevent him en- 
tering into more." 

It may be mentioned that Koenig's original plan was 
confined to an improved press, in which the operation 

The First Printing Machine. 159 

of laying the ink on the types was to be performed by 
an apparatus connected with the motions of the coffin, 
in such a manner as that one hand could be saved. As 
little could be gained in expedition by this plan, the 
idea soon suggested itself of moving the press by ma- 
chinery, or to reduce the several operations to one ro- 
tary motion, to which the first mover might be applied. 
While Koenig was in the throes of his invention, he 
was joined by his friend, Andrew F. Bauer, a native 
of Stuttgart, who possessed considerable mechanical 
power, in which the inventor himself was probably 
somewhat deficient. At all events, these two together 
proceeded to work out the idea, and to construct the 
first actual working printing machine. 

A patent was taken out, dated the 29th of March, 

1810, which describes the details of the invention. 
The arrangement was somewhat similar to that known 
as the platen machine, the printing being produced by 
two flat plates, as in the common hand-press. It also 
embodied an ingenious arrangement for inking the 
type. Instead of the old-fashioned inking-balls, which 
were beaten on the type by hand-labor, several cylin- 
ders covered with felt and leather were used, and 
formed part of the machine itself. Two of the cylin- 
ders revolved in opposite directions, so as to spread 
the ink, which was then transferred by two other ink- 
ing cylinders alternately applied to the " form " by the 
action of spiral springs. The movement of all the 
parts of the machine were to be derived from a steam- 
engine, or other first mover. 

" After many obstructions and delays," says Koenig 
himself, in describing the history of his invention, 
" the first printing machine was completed exactly 
upon the plan which I have described in the specifica- 
tion of my first patent. It was set to work in April, 

1811. The sheet (H) of the new ' Annual Register ' for 

ICO J<"/'nlt/'t'f/c Kocnifj. 

1810, 'Principal Occurrences,' three thousand copies, 
was print CM! -with it; and is, I have no doubt, the first 
part of a book ever printed with a machine. The act- 
ual use of it, however, soon suggested new ideas, and 
led to the rendering it less complicated and more pow- 
erful."* Of course! No great invention was ever 
completed at one effort. It would have been strange 
if Koenig had been satisfied with his first attempt. It 
was only a beginning, and he naturally proceeded with 
the improvement of his machine. It took Watt more 
than twenty years to elaborate his condensing steam- 
engine; and since his day, owing to the perfection of 
self-acting tools, it has been greatly improved. The 
power of the steamboat and the locomotive also, as 
well as of all other inventions, have been developed 
by the constantly succeeding improvements of a na- 
tion of mechanical engineers. 

Koenig's experiment was only a beginning, and he 
naturally proceeded with the improvement of his ma- 
chine. Although the platen-machine of Koenig's has 
since been taken up anew, and perfected, it was not 
considered by him sufficiently simple in its arrange- 
ments as to be adapted for common use; and he had 
scarcely completed it when he was already revolving 
in his mind a plan of a second machine on a new prin- 
ciple, with the object of insuring greater speed, econ- 
omy, and simplicity. 

By this time other well-known London printers, 
Messrs. Taylor & "Woodfall, had joined Koenig and 
Bensley in their partnership for the manufacture and 
sale of printing machines. The idea which now oc- 
curred to Koenig was, to employ a cylinder instead of 
a flat platen-machine for taking the impressions off 
the type, and to place the sheet round the cylinder, 

* Koenig's letter in The Times, 8th of December, 1814. 

The Cylinder Press. 161 

thereby making it, as it were, part of the periphery. 
As early as the year 1790 one William Nicholson had 
taken out a patent for a machine for printing " on 
paper, linen, cotton, woollen, and other articles," by 
means of " blocks, forms, types, plates, and originals," 
which were to be "firmly imposed upon a cylindrical 
surface in the same manner as common letter is im- 
posed upon a flat stone." * From the mention of " col- 
oring cylinder," and " paper-hangings, floor-cloths, cot- 
'tons, linens, woollens, leather, skin, and every other 
flexible material," mentioned in the specification, it 
would appear as if Nicholson's invention were adapted 
for calico-printing and paper-hangings, as well as for 
the printing of books. But it was never used for any 
of these purposes. It contained merely the register of 
an idea, and that was all. It was left for Adam Par- 
kinson, of Manchester, to invent and make practical 
use of the cylinder printing machine for calico in the 
year 1805, and this was still further advanced by the 
invention of James Thompson, of Clitheroe, in 1813, 
while it was left for Frederick Koenig to invent and 
carry into practical operation the cylinder printing- 
press for newspapers. 

After some promising experiments, the plans for a 
new machine on the cylindrical principle were pro- 
ceeded with. Koenig admitted throughout the great 
benefit he derived from the assistance of his friend 
Bauer. " By the judgment and precision," he said, 
"with which he executed my plans, he greatly con- 
tributed to my success." A patent was taken out on 
October 30th, 1811, and the new machine was com- 
pleted in December, 1812. The first sheets ever print- 
ed with an entirely cylindrical press were sheets G and 
X of Clarkson's "Life of Penn." The papers of the 

* Date of patent, 29th of April, 1790, No. 1748. 

Frederick Koenig. 

Protestant I'mon were also printed with it in Febru- 
ary and March, 1813. Mr. Koenig, in his account of 
the invention, says that " sheet M of Acton's 'llortus 
Kewensis,' vol. v., will show the progress of improve- 
ment in the use of the invention. Altogether, there 
are about one hundred and sixty thousand sheets now 
in the hands of the public printed with this machine, 
which, with the aid of two hands, takes off eight hun- 
dred impressions in the hour."* 

Koenig took out a further patent on July 23d, 1813, 
and a fourth (the last) on the 14th of March, 1814. 
The contrivance of these various arrangements cost 
the inventor many anxious days and nights of study 
and labor. But he saw before him only the end he 
wished to compass, and thought but little of himself 
and his toils. It may be mentioned that the principal 
feature of the invention was the printing-cylinder in 
the centre of the machine, by which the impression 
was taken from the types, instead of by flat plates, as 
in the first arrangement. The form was fixed in a 


cast-iron plate, which was carried to and fro on a 
table, being received at either end by strong spiral 
springs. A double machine, on the same principle 
the form alternately passing under and giving an im- 
pression at one of two cylinders at either end of the 
press was also included in the patent of 1811. 

How diligently Koenig continued to elaborate the 
details of his invention will be obvious from the two 
last patents which he took out, in 1813 and 1814. In 
the first he introduced an important improvement in 
the inking arrangement, and a contrivance for holding 
and carrying on the sheet, keeping it close to the print- 
ing-cylinder by means of endless tapes ; while in the 
second he added the following new expedients: a feed- 

* Koenig's letter in Tke Times, 8th of December, 1814. 

The Steam Press Needed. 163 

er, consisting of an endless web, an improved arrange- 
ment of the endless tapes by inner as well as outer 
f riskets ; an improvement of the register (that is, one 
page falling exactly on the back of another), by which 
greater accuracy of impression was also secured; and, 
finally, an arrangement by which the sheet was thrown 
out of the machine, printed by the revolving cylinder 
on both sides. 

The partners in Koenig's patents had established a 
manufactory in Whitecross Street for the production 
of the new machines. The workmen employed were 
sworn to secrecy. They entered into an agreement by 
which they were liable to forfeit 100 if they commu- 
nicated to others the secret of the machines, either by 
drawings or description, or if they told by whom or 
for whom they were constructed. This was to avoid 
the hostility of the pressmen, who, having heard of 
the new invention, were up in arms against it, as likely 
to deprive them of their employment. And yet, as 
stated by Johnson in his " Typographia," the manual 
labor of the men who worked at the hand-press was so 
severe and exhausting " that the stoutest constitutions 
fell a sacrifice to it in a few years." The number of 
sheets that could be thrown off was also extremely 
limited. With the improved press, perfected by Earl 
Stanhope, about two hundred and fifty impressions 
could be taken, or one hundred and twenty-five sheets 
printed on both sides, in an hour. Although a greater 
number was produced in newspaper printing-offices by 
excessive labor, yet it was necessary to have duplicate 
presses, and to set up duplicate forms of type, to carry 
on such extra work; and still the production of copies 
was quite inadequate to satisfy the rapidly increasing 
demand for newspapers. The time was therefore evi- 
dently ripe for the adoption of such a machine as that 
of Koenig. Attempts had be^n made by many in- 

1C4 7v<'/' //// Kocnig. 

venters, hut every one of them had failed. Printers 
u< iiei-ally regarded the steam-press as altogether chi- 

Such was the condition of affairs when Kocnig fin- 
ished his improved printing machine in the manufac- 
tory in Whitecross Street. The partners in the inven- 
tion were now in great hopes. When the machine had 
been got ready for work, the proprietors of several of 
the leading London newspapers were invited to wit- 
ness its performances. Among them were Mr. Perry, 
of the Morning Chronicle, and Mr. "Walter, of The 
Times. Mr. Perry would have nothing to do with 
the machine; he would not even go to see it, for he 
regarded it as a gimcrack.* On the contrary, Mr. 
Walter, though he had five years before declined to 
enter into any arrangement with Bensley, now that he 
heard the machine was finished and at work, decided 
to go and inspect it. It was thoroughly characteristic 
of the business spirit of the man. He had been very 
anxious to apply increased mechanical power to the 
printing of his newspaper. He had consulted Isam- 
bard Brunei, one of the cleverest inventors of the day, 
on the subject; but Brunei, after studying the subject, 
and laboring over a variety of plans, finally gave it up. 
He had next tried Thomas Martyn, an ingenious young 
compositor, who had a scheme for a self-acting ma- 
chine for working the printing-press. But, although 
Mr. Walter supplied him with the necessary funds, 
his scheme never came to anything. Now, therefore, 
was the chance for Koenig! 

After carefully examining the machine at work, Mr. 

* Mr. Richard Taylor, one of the partners in the patent, says, 
"Mr. Perry declined, alleging that he did not consider a newspaper 
worth so many years' purchase as ^YOuld equal the cost of the ma- 

Double Cylinders. 165 

Walter was at once satisfied as to the great value of 
the invention. He saw it turning out the impressions 
with unusual speed and great regularity. This was 
the very machine of which he had been in search. 
But it turned out the impressions printed on one side 
only. Koenig, however, having briefly explained the 
more rapid action of a double machine, on the same 
principle, for the printing of newspapers, Mr. Walter, 
after a few minutes' consideration, and before leaving 
the premises, ordered two double machines for the 
printing of The Times newspaper. Here, at last, was 
the opportunity for a triumphant issue out of Koenig's 

The construction of the first newspaper machine was 
still, however, a work of great difficulty and labor. 
It must be remembered that nothing of the kind had 
yet been made by any other inventor. The single- 
cylinder machine, which Mr. Walter had seen at work, 
was intended for bookwork only. Now Koenig had to 

/ <_} 

construct a double-cylinder machine for printing news- 
papers, in which many of the arrangements must nec- 
essarily be entirely new. With the assistance of his 
leading mechanic, Bauer, aided by the valuable sug- 
gestions of Mr. Walter himself, Koenig at length com- 
pleted his plans, and proceeded with the erection of 
the working machine. The several parts were prepared 
at the workshop in Whitecross Street, and taken from 
thence, in as secret a way as possible, to the premises 
in Printing-house Square adjoining The Times office, 
where they were fitted together and erected into a 
working machine. Nearly two years elapsed before 
the press was ready for work. Great as was the se- 
crecy with which the operations were conducted, the 
pressmen of The Times office obtained some inkling of 
what was going on, and they vowed vengeance to the 
foreign inventor who threatened their craft with de- 

1 (5 G //"/</ /' 7.- Kocn ig. 

struct 'mn. There was, however, always this cons.. hi- 


ti>n i-vi-ry attempt that had heretofore been inad- t<> 
]rint newspapers in any other way than by manual 
labor had proved an utter failure. 

At length the day arrived when the first newspaper 
steam press was ready for use. The pressmen were in 
a state of great excitement, for they knew by rumor 
that the machine of which they had so long been ap- 
prehensive was fast approaching completion. One 
night they were told to wait in the press-room, as 
important news was expected from abroad. At six 
o'clock in the morning of the 29th November, 1814, 

O 2 S 

Mr. Walter, who had been watching the working of 
the machine all through the night, suddenly appeared 
among the pressmen, and announced that" The Tinn* 
is already printed by steam !" Knowing that the 
pressmen had vowed vengeance against the inventor 
and his invention, and that they had threatened "de- 
struction to him and his traps," he informed them that 
if they attempted violence, there was a force ready to 
suppress it ; but that if they were peaceable, their 
wages should be continued to every one of them until 
they could obtain similar employment. This proved 
satisfactory so far, and he proceeded to distribute sev- 
eral copies of the newspaper among them the first 
newspaper printed by steam ! That paper contained 
the following memorable announcement: 

" Our Journal of this day presents to the public the 
practical result of the greatest improvement connected 
with printing since the discovery of the art itself. The 
reader of this paragraph now holds in his hand one of 
the many thousand impressions of The, Times news- 
paper which were taken off last night by a mechanical 
apparatus. A system of machinery almost organic has 
been devised and arranged, which, while it relieves 
the human frame of its most laborious efforts in print- 

Description of the Steam Press. 167 

ing, far exceeds all human powers in rapidity and dis- 
patch. That the magnitude of the invention may be 
justly appreciated by its effects, we shall inform the 
public, that after the letters are placed by the compos- 
itors, and enclosed in what is called the forme, little 
more remains for man to do than to attend upon and 
to watch this unconscious agent in its operations. The 
machine is then merely supplied with paper : itself 
places the forme, inks it, adjusts the paper to the 
forme newly inked, stamps the sheet, and gives it 
forth to the hands of the attendant, at the same time 
withdrawing the forme for a fresh coat of ink, which 
itself again distributes, to meet the ensuing sheet now 
advancing for impression ; and the whole of these 
complicated acts is performed with such a velocity and 
simultaneousness of movement, that no less than 1100 
sheets are impressed in one hour. 

" That the completion of an invention of this kind, 
not the effect of chance, but the result of mechanical 
combinations methodically arranged in the mind of the 
artist, should be attended with many obstructions and 
much delay, may be readily imagined. Our share in 
this event has, indeed, only been the application of the 
discovery, under an agreement with the patentees, to 
our own particular business; yet few can conceive 
even with this limited interest the various disap- 
pointments and deep anxiety to which we have for a 
long course of time been subjected. 

"Of the person who made this discovery we have 
but little to add. Sir Christopher Wren's noblest 
monument is to be found in the building which he 
erected; so is the best tribute of praise which we are 
capable of offering to the inventor of the printing ma- 
chine, comprised in the preceding description, which 
we have feebly sketched, of the powers and utility of 
his invention. It must suffice to say further, that he 

168 Frederick Koeniy. 

is n Saxon by birth ; that his name is Kocnig ; ami 
that the invention has been executed under the direc- 
tion of his friend and countryman Bauer." 

The machine continued to work steadily and satis- 
factorily, notwithstanding the doubters, the unbeliev- 
ers, and the threateners of vengeance. The leading 
article of The Times for December 3d, 1814, contains 
the following statement: 

" The machine of which we announced the discovery 
and our adoption a few days ago, has been whirling on 
its course ever since, with improving order, regularity, 
and even speed. The length of the debates on Thurs- 
day, the day when Parliament was adjourned, will have 
been observed ; on such an occasion the operation of 
composing and printing the last page must commence 
among all the journals at the same moment; and start- 
ing from that moment, we, with our infinitely superior 
circulation, were enabled to throw off our whole im- 
pression many hours before the other respectable rival 
prints. The accuracy and clearness of the impression 
will likewise excite attention. 

" We shall make no reflections upon those by whom 
this wonderful discovery has been opposed the doubt- 
ers and unbelievers however uncharitable they may 
have been to us; were it not that the efforts of genius 
are always impeded by drivellers of this description, 
and that we owe it to such men as Mr. Koenig and his 
Friend, and all future promulgators of beneficial in- 
ventions, to warn them that they will have to contend 
with everything that selfishness and conceited igno- 
rance can devise or say ; and if we cannot clear their 
way before them, we would at least give them notice 
to prepare a panoply against its dirt and filth. 

"There is another class of men from whom we re- 
ceive dark and anonymous threats of vengeance if we 
persevere in the use of this machine. These are the 

Opposition of the Pressmen. 169 

Pressmen. They well know, at least should well know, 
that such menace is thrown away upon us. There is 
nothing that we will not do to assist and serve those 
whom we have discharged. They themselves can see 
the greater rapidity and precision with which the paper 
is printed. What right have they to make us print it 
slower and worse for their supposed benefit ? A little 
reflection, indeed, would show them that it is neither 
in their power nor in ours to stop a discovery now 
made, if it is beneficial to mankind ; or to force it 
down if it is useless. They had better, therefore, ac- 
quiesce in a result which they cannot alter; more espe- 
cially as there will still be employment enough for the 
old race of pressmen, before the new method obtains 
general use, and no new ones need be brought up to 
the business; but we caution them seriously against 
involving themselves and their families in ruin, by 
becoming amenable to the laws of their country. It 
has always been matter of great satisfaction to us to 
reflect, that we encountered and crushed one conspir- 
acy ; and we should be sorry to find our work half 

" It is proper to undeceive the world in one particu- 
lar; that is, as to the number of men discharged. We 
in fact employ only eight fewer workmen than former- 
ly; whereas more than three times that number have 
been employed for a year and a half in building the 

On the 8th of December following, Mr. Koenig ad- 
dressed an advertisement " To the Public " in the col- 
umns of The Times, giving an account of the origin 
and progress of his invention. We have already cited 
several passages from the statement. After referring 
to his last two patents, he says : " The machines now 
printing The Times and Mail are upon the same prin- 
ciple ; but they have been contrived for the particular 


170 Frederick Koenig. 

purpose of a newspaper of extensive circulation, where 
csjmHtion is the great object. 

" The public are undoubtedly aware, that never, per- 
haps, was a new invention put to so severe a trial as 
the present one, by being used on its first public intro- 
duction for the printing of newspapers, and will, I 
trust, be indulgent with respect to the many defects 
in the performance, though none of them are inherent 
in the principle of the machine; and we hope that in 
less than two months the whole will be corrected by 
greater adroitness in the management of it, so far at 
least as the hurry of newspaper printing will at all 

" It will appear from the foregoing narrative, that it 
was incorrectly stated in several newspapers that I 
had sold my interest to two other foreigners ; my 
partners in this enterprise being at present two Eng- 
lishmen, Mr. Bensley and Mr. Taylor; and it is grati- 
fying to my feelings to avail myself of this opportu- 
nity to thank those gentlemen publicly for the confidence 
which they have reposed in me, for the aid of their 
practical skill, and for the persevering support which 
they have afforded me in long and very expensive ex- 
periments ; thus risking their fortunes in the prose- 
cution of mv invention. 

" The first introduction of the invention was consid- 
ered by some as a difficult and even hazardous step. 
The Proprietor of The Times having made that his 
task, the public are aware that it is in good hands." 

One would think that Koenig would now feel him- 
self in smooth water, and receive a share of the good 
fortune which he had so laboriously prepared for oth- 
ers. Nothing of the kind ! His merits were disputed; 
his rights were denied ; his patents were infringed ; 
and he never received any solid advantages for his in- 
vention, until he left the country and took refuge in 

The Registering Machine. 171 

Germany. It is true he remained for a few years 
longer, in charge of the manufactory in Whitecross 
Street, but they were years to him of trouble and sor- 

In 1816, Koenig designed and superintended the 
construction of a single-cylinder registering machine 
for book - printing. This was supplied to Bensley & 
Son, and turned out one thousand sheets, printed on 
both sides, in the hour. Blumenbach's " Physiology ' 
was the first entire book printed by steam, by this new 
machine. It was afterwards employed, in 1818, in 
working off the Literary Gazette. A machine of the 
same kind was supplied to Mr. Richard Taylor for the 
purpose of printing the Philosophical Magazine^ and 
books generally. This was afterwards altered to a 
double machine, and employed for printing the Weekly 

But what about Koenig's patents ? They proved of 
little use to him. They only proclaimed his methods, 
and enabled other ingenious mechanics to borrow his 
adaptations. Now that he had succeeded in making 
machines that would work, the way was clear for ev- 
erybody else to follow his footsteps. It had taken 
him more than six years to invent and construct a 
successful steam printing-press ; but any clever me- 
chanic, by merely studying his specification, and ex- 
amining his machine at work, might arrive at the 
same results in less than a week. 

The patents did not protect him. New specifica- 
tions, embodying some modification or alteration in 
detail, were lodged by other inventors and new pat- 
ents taken out. New printing machines were con- 
structed in defiance of his supposed legal rights; and 
he found himself stripped of the reward that he had 
been laboring for during so many long and toilsome 
years. He could not go to law, and increase his own 

172 Frederick Koenig. 

vexation and loss. He might get into Chancery easy 
enough; but when would he get out of it, and in what 
condition ? 

It must also be added, that Koenig was unfortunate 
in his partner Bensley. While the inventor was taking 
steps to push the sale of his book-printing machines 
among the London printers, Bensley, who was himself 
a book-printer, was hindering him in every way in his 
negotiations. Koenig was of opinion that Bensley 
wished to retain the exclusive advantage which the 
possession of his registering book machine gave him 
over the other printers, by enabling him to print more 
quickly and correctly than they could, and thus give 
him an advantage over them in his printing contracts. 

When Koenig, in despair at his position, consulted 
counsel as to the infringement of his patent, he was 
told that he might institute proceedings with the best 
prospect of success ; but to this end a perfect agree- 
ment by the partners was essential. When, however, 
Koenig asked Bensley to concur with him in taking 
proceedings in defence of the patent right, he posi- 
tively refused to do so. Indeed, Koenig was under 
the impression that his partner had even entered into 
an arrangement with the infringers of the patent to 
share with them the proceeds of their piracy. 

Under these circumstances, it appeared to Koenig 
that only two alternatives remained for him to adopt. 
One was to commence an expensive, and it might be a 
protracted, suit in Chancery, in defence of his patent 
rights, with possibly his partner, Bensley, against him; 
and the other, to abandon his invention in England 
without further struggle, and settle abroad. He chose 
the latter alternative, and left England finally in Au- 
gust, 1817. 

Mr. Richard Taylor, the other partner in the patent, 
was an honorable man ; but he could not control the 

Injustice to the Inventor. 173 

proceedings of Bensley. In a memoir published by 
him in the Philosophical Ma gazine, "On the Invention 
and First Introduction of Mr. Koenig's Printing Ma- 
chine," in which he honestly attributes to him the sole 
merit of the invention, he says, "Mr. Koenig left Eng- 
land, suddenly, in disgust at the treacherous conduct 
of Bensley, always shabby and overreaching, and whom 
he found to be laying a scheme for defrauding his part- 
ners in the patents of all the advantages to arise from 
them. Bensley, however, while he destroyed the pros- 
pects of his partners, outwitted himself, and grasping 
at all, lost all, becoming bankrupt in fortune as well as 
in character." * 

Koenig was badly used throughout. His merits as 
an inventor were denied. On the 3d of January, 
1818, after he had left England, Bensley published a 
letter in the Literary Gazette, in which he speaks of 
the printing machine as his own, without mentioning 
a word of Koenig. The "British Encyclopaedia," in 
describing the inventors of the printing machine, 
omitted the name of Koenig altogether. The Me- 
chanic's Magazine., for September, 1847, attributed the 
invention to the proprietors of The Times, though Mr. 
Walter himself had said that his share in the event 
had been "only the application of the discovery;" and 
the late Mr. Bennet Woodcroft, usually a fair man, in 
his introductory chapter to " Patents for Inventions in 
Printing," attributes the merit to William Nicholson's 
patent (No. 1748), which, he said, "produced an entire 
revolution in the mechanism of the art." In other 
publications, the claims of Bacon and Donkin were 
put forward, while those of Koenig were ignored. 
The memoir of Mr. Richard Taylor, in the Philosoph- 

* Mr. Richard Taylor, F.S.A., memoir in Philosophical Magazine 
for October, 1817, p. 300. 

17-i Frederick Koeniy. 

ical jr<t<jazinc, was honest and satisfactory; and should 
have set the question at rest. 

It may further be mentioned that William Nichol- 
son who was a patent agent, and a great taker-out 
of patents, both in his own name and in the names of 
others was the person employed by Koenig as his 
agent to take the requisite steps for registering his 
invention. When Koenig consulted him on the sub- 
ject, Nicholson observed that " seventeen years before 
he had taken out a patent for machine-printing, but he 
had abandoned it, thinking that it wouldn't do ; and 
had never taken it tip again." Indeed, the two ma- 
chines were on different principles. Nor did Nichol- 
son himself ever make any claim to priority of inven- 
tion, when the success of Koenig's machine was pub- 
licly proclaimed by Mr. Walter of The Times some 
seven years later. 

When Koenig, now settled abroad, heard of the at- 
tempts made in England to deny his merits as an in- 
ventor, he merely observed to his friend Bauer, " It is 
really too bad that these people, who have already 
robbed me of my invention, should now try to rob me 
of my reputation." Had he made any reply to the 
charges against him, it might have been comprised in 
a very few words : " When I arrived in England, no 
steam printing machine had ever before been seen ; 
when I left it, the only printing machines in actual 
work were those which I had constructed." But 
Koenig never took the trouble to defend the origi- 
nality of his invention in England, now that he had 
finally abandoned the field to others. 

There can be no question as to the great improve- 
ments introduced in the printing machine by Mr. Ap- 
plegarth and Mr. Cowper; by Messrs. Hoe & Sons, of 
New York; and still later by the present Mr. Walter 
of The Times, which have brought the art of machine- 

Comparisons. 175 

printing to an extraordinary degree of perfection and 
speed. But the original merits of an invention are 
not to be determined by a comparison of the first ma- 
chine of the kind ever made with the last, after some 
sixty years' experience and skill have been applied in 
bringing it to perfection. Were the first condensing- 
engine made at Soho now to be seen at the Museum 
in South Kensington in like manner to be compared 
with the last improved pumping-engine made yester- 
day, even the great James Watt might be made out 
to have been a very poor contriver. It would be 
much fairer to compare Koenig's steam printing ma- 
chine with the hand-press newspaper printing machine 
which it superseded. Though there were steam-en- 
gines before Watt, and steamboats before Fulton, and 
steam locomotives before Stephenson, there were no 
steam printing presses before Koenig with which to 
compare them. Koenig's was undoubtedly the first, 
and stood unequalled and alone. 

The rest of Koenig's life, after he retired to Ger- 
many, was spent in industry, if not in peace and quiet- 
ness. He could not fail to be cast down by the utter 
failure of his English partnership, and the loss of the 
fruits of his ingenious labors. But instead of brood- 
ing over his troubles, he determined to break away 
from them, and begin the world anew. He was only 
forty-three when he left England, and he might yet be 
able to establish himself prosperously in life. He had 
his own head and hands to help him. Though Eng- 
land was virtually closed against him, the whole con- 
tinent of Europe was open to him, and presented a 
wide field for the sale of his printing machines. 

While residing in England, Koenig had received 
many communications from influential printers in 
Germany. Johann Spencer and George Decker wrote 
to him in 1815, asking for particulars about his inven- 

1 7 fi /' / '" 1' r ick 1\ '<></< if). 

tion ; but finding his machine too expensive,* the lat- 
ti r commissioned Koenig to send him a Stanhope 
printing-press the first ever introduced into Ger- 
many the price of which was 95. Koenig did this 
service for his friend, for although he stood by the 
superior merits of his own invention, he was suflicient- 
ly liberal to recognize the merits of the inventions of 
others. Now that he was about to settle in Germany, 
he was able to supply his friends and patrons on the 

The question arose, where was he to settle? He 
made inquiries about sites along the Rhine, the Neck- 
ar, and the Main. At last he was attracted by a 
specially interesting spot at Oberzell on the Main, 
near \Vurzburg. It was an old disused convent of 
the Prtemonstratensian monks. The place was con- 
veniently situated for business, being nearly in the 
centre of Germany. The Bavarian government, de- 
sirous of giving encouragement to so useful a genius, 
granted Koenig the use of the secularized monastery 
on easy terms ; and there, accordingly, he began his 
operations in the course of the following year. Bauer 
soon joined him, with an order from Mr. Walter for an 
improved Times machine ; and the two men entered 
into a partnership which lasted for life. 

The partners had at first great difficulties to encoun- 
ter in getting their establishment to work. Oberzell 
was a rural village, containing only common laborers, 
from whom they had to select their workmen. Every 
person taken into the concern had to be trained and 
educated to mechanical work by the partners them- 

* The price of a single-cylinder non-registering machine was adver- 
tised at 900 ; of a double ditto, 1400 ; and of a cylinder registering 
machine, 2000 ; added to which was 250, 350, and 500 per an- 
num for each of these machines so long as the patent lasted, or an 
agreed sum to be paid down at once. 

Steam Presses in Germany. 177 

selves. With indescribable patience they taught these 
laborers the use of the hammer, the file, the turning- 
lathe, and other tools, which the greater number of 
them had never before seen, and of whose uses they 
were entirely ignorant. The machinery of the work- 
shop was got together with equal difficulty piece by 
piece, some of the parts from a great distance the 
mechanical arts being then at a very low ebb in Ger- 
many, which was still suffering from the effects of .the 
long Continental war. At length the workshop was 
fitted up, the old barn of the monastery being convert- 
ed into an iron foundery. 

Orders for printing machines were gradually ob- 
tained. The first came from Brockhaus, of Leipzig. 
By the end of the fourth year two other single-cylin- 
der machines were completed and sent to Berlin, for 
use in the State printing-office. By the end of the 
eighth year seven double-cylinder steam presses had 
been manufactured for the largest newspaper printers 
in Germany. The recognized excellence of Koenig & 
Bauer's book-printing machines their perfect regis- 
ter, and the quality of the work they turned out se- 
cured for them an increasing demand, and by the year 
1829 the firm had manufactured fifty-one machines for 
the leading book-printers throughout Germany. The 
Oberzell manufactory was now in full work, and gave 
regular employment to about one hundred and twenty 

A period of considerable depression followed. As 
was the case in England, the introduction of the print- 
ing machine in Germany excited considerable hostility 
among the pressmen. In some of the principal towns 
they entered into combinations to destroy them, and 
several printing machines were broken by violence, 
and irretrievably injured. But progress could not be 
stopped; the printing machine had been fairly born, 


ITS Frederick Koenig. 

and must eventually do its work for mankind. Tli 
combinations, however, bad an effect for a time. They 
deterred other printers from giving orders for the ma- 
chines; and Koenig & Bauer under the neces- 
sity of suspending their manufacture to a considerable 
extent. To keep their men employed, the partners 
proceeded to fit up a paper manufactory, !Mr. Cotta, 
of Stuttgart, joining them in the adventure, and a mill 
was fitted up, embodying all the latest improvements 
in paper-making. 

Koenig, however, did not live to enjoy the fruits of 
all his study, labor, toil, and anxiety; for, while this 
enterprise was still in progress, and before the machine 
trade had revived, he was taken ill, and confined to 
bed. He became sleepless; his nerves were unstrung; 
and no wonder. Brain-disease carried him off on the 
17th of January, 1833, and this good, ingenious, and 
admirable inventor was removed from all further care 
and trouble. He died at the early age of fifty-eight, 
respected and beloved by all who knew him. 

His partner, Bauer, survived to continue the busi- 
ness for twenty years longer. It was during this later 
period that the Oberzell manufactory enjoyed its great- 
est prosperity. The prejudices of the workmen grad- 
ually subsided when they found that machine-printing, 
instead of abridging employment, as they feared it 
would do, enormously increased it; and orders, ac- 
cordingly, flowed in from Berlin, Vienna, and all the 
leading towns and cities of Germany, Austria, Den- 
mark, Russia, and Sweden. The six-hundredth ma- 
chine, turned out in 1847, was capable of printing six 
thousand impressions in the hour. In March, 1865, the 
thousandth machine was completed at Oberzell, on the 
occasion of the celebration of the fifty years' jubilee 
of the invention of the steam press by Koenig. 

The sons of Koenig carried on the business; and, in 

Manufactory at Oberzell. 179 

the biography by Goebel, it is stated that the manu- 
factory of Oberzell has now turned out no fewer than 
three thousand printing machines. The greater num- 
ber have been supplied to Germany; but six hundred 
and sixty were sent to Russia, sixty-one to Asia, twelve 
to England, and eleven to America. The rest were 
despatched to Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Hol- 
land, and other countries. 

It remains to be said that Koenig and Bauer, united 
in life, were not divided by death. Bauer died on 
February 27th, 1860, and the remains of the partners 
now lie side by side in the little cemetery at Oberzell, 
close to the scene of their labors and the valuable es- 
tablishment which they founded. 




"Intellect and industry are never incompatible. There is more 
wisdom, and will be more benefit, in combining them, than scholars 
like to believe, or than the common world imagine. Life has time 
enough for both, and its happiness will be increased by the union." 

"I have beheld with most respect the man 
Who knew himself, and knew the ways before him, 
And from among them chose considerately, 
With a clear foresight, not a blindfold courage ; 
And, having chosen, with a steadfast mind 
Pursued his purpose." 

HENRY TAYLOR: Philip von Artevelde. 

THE late John Walter, who adopted Koenig's steam 
printing-press in printing TJie Times, was virtually the 
inventor of the modern newspaper. The first John 
Walter, his father, learned the art of printing in the 
office of Dodsley, the proprietor of the " Annual Reg- 
ister." He afterwards pursued the profession of an un- 
derwriter, but his fortunes were literally shipwrecked 
by the capture of a fleet of merchantmen by a French 
squadron. Compelled by this loss to return to his 
trade, he succeeded in obtaining the publication of 
" Lloyd's List," as well as the printing of the Board of 
Customs. He also established himself as a publisher 
and bookseller, at Ko. 8 Charing Cross. But his prin- 
cipal achievement was in founding The Times news- 

" The Times." 181 

The Daily Universal Register was started on the 
1st of January, 1785, and was described in the heading 
as "printed logographically." The type had still to 
be composed, letter by letter, each placed alongside of 
its predecessor by human fingers. Mr. Walter's inven- 
tion consisted in using stereotyped words and parts of 
words instead of separate metal letters, by which a 
certain saving of time and labor was effected. The 
name of the Register did not suit, there being many 
other publications bearing a similar title. According- 
ly, it was renamed The Times, and the first number 
was issued from Printing-house Square on the 1st of 
January, 1788. 

The Times was at first a very meagre publication. 
It was not much bigger than a number of the old 
Penny Magazine, containing a single short leader 
on some current topic, without any pretensions to ex- 
cellence ; some driblets of news spread out in large 
type ; half a column of foreign intelligence, with a 
column of facetious paragraphs under the heading of 
"The Cuckoo;" while the rest of each number con- 
sisted of advertisements. Notwithstanding the com- 
parative innocence of the contents of the early num- 
bers of the paper, certain passages which appeared in 
it on two occasions subjected the publisher to impris- 
onment in Newgate. The extent of the offence, on 
one occasion, consisted in the publication of a short 
paragraph intimating that their royal highnesses the 
Prince of Wales and the Duke of York had " so de- 
meaned themselves as to incur the just disapprobation 
of his majesty!" For such slight offences were print- 
ers sent to jail in those days. 

Although the first Mr. Walter was a man of consid- 
erable business ability, his exertions were probably too 
much divided among a variety of pursuits to enable 
him to devote that exclusive attention to The Times 

182 Tlf !!W/v/',9 of "The Times." 

which was ne<-r^;iry to insure its success. lie 
bly regarded it, as other publishers of newspapers then 
did, mainly as a means of obtaining a profitable bu-i- 
ness in job-printing. Hence, in the elder Walter's 
hands, the paper was not only unprofitable in itself, 
but its maintenance became a source of gradually in- 
creasing expenditure, and the proprietor seriously con- 
templated its discontinuance. 

At this juncture John Walter, junior, who had been 
taken into the business as a partner, entreated his fa- 
ther to intrust him with the sole conduct of the paper, 
and to give it "one more trial." This was at the be- 
ginning of 1803. The new editor and conductor was 
then only twenty-seven years of age. He had been 
trained to the manual work of a printer " at case,' 1 
and passed through nearly every department in the 
office, literary and mechanical. But, in the first place, 
he had received a very liberal education, first at Mer- 
chant Taylors' School, and afterwards at Trinity Col- 
lege, Oxford, where he pursued his classical studies 
with much success. He was thus a man of well-cult- 
ured mind ; he had been thoroughly disciplined to 
work ; he was, moreover, a man of tact and energy, 
full of expedients, and possessed by a passion for busi- 
ness. His father, urged by the young man's entreat- 
ies, at length consented, although not without misgiv- 
ings, to resign into his hands the entire future control 
of The Times. 

Young Walter proceeded forthwith to remodel the 
establishment, and to introduce improvements into ev- 
ery department, as far as the scanty capital at his 
command would admit. Before he assumed the direc- 
tion, The Times did not seek to guide opinion or to 
exercise political influence. It was a scanty newspaper 
nothing more. Any political matters referred to 
were usually introduced in " Letters to the Editor," in 

The Leading Article. 183 

the form in which Junius's Letters first appeared in 
the Public Advertiser. The comments on political af- 
fairs by the editor were meagre and brief, and confined 
to a mere statement of supposed facts. 

Mr. Walter, very much to the dismay of his father, 
struck out an entirely new course. He boldly stated 
his views on public affairs, bringing his strong and 
original judgment to bear upon the political and social 
topics of the day. He carefully watched and closely 
studied public opinion, and discussed general questions 
in all their bearings. He thus invented the modern 
leading article. The adoption of an independent line 
of politics necessarily led him to canvass freely, and 
occasionally to condemn, the measures of the govern- 
ment. Thus, he had only been about a year in office 
as editor, when the Sidmouth administration was suc- 
ceeded by that of Mr. Pitt, tinder whom Lord Melville 
undertook the unfortunate Catamaran expedition. His 
lordship's malpractices in the navy department had 
also been brought to light by the Commissioners of 
Naval Inquiry. On both these topics Mr. Walter 
spoke out freely in terms of reprobation ; and the 
result was, that the printing for the customs and the 
government advertisements were at once removed from 
The Times office. 

Two years later Mr. Pitt died, and an administration 
succeeded which contained a portion of the political 
chiefs whom the editor had formerly supported on his 
undertaking the management of the paper. He was 
invited by one of them to state the injustice which 
had been done to him by the loss of the customs print- 
ing, and a memorial to the treasury was submitted for 
his signature, with a view to its recovery. But, be- 
lieving that the reparation of the injury in this man- 
ner was likely to be considered as a favor, entitling 
those who granted it to a certain degree of influence 

184: The Walters of " The Times." 

over the politics of the journal, Walter refused to sign 
it, or to have any concern in presenting the memorial. 
He did more ; he wrote to those from whom the resto- 
ration of the employment w r as expected to come, disa- 
vowing all connection with the proceeding. The mat- 
ter then dropped, and the customs printing was never 
restored to the office. 

This course was so unprecedented, and, as his father 
thought, was so very wrong-headed, that young Wal- 
ter had for some time considerable difficulty in hold- 
ing his ground and maintaining the independent posi- 
tion he had assumed. But, with great tenacity of 
purpose, he held on his course undismayed. He was 
a man who looked far ahead not so much taking into 
account the results at the end of each day or of each 
year, but how the plan he had laid down for con- 
ducting the paper would work out in the long run. 
And events proved that the high-minded course he 
had pursued with so much firmness of purpose was the 
wisest course after all. 

Another feature in the management which showed 
clear-sightedness and business acuteness was, the pains 
which the editor took to insure greater celerity of 
information and despatch in printing. The expense 
which he incurred in carrying out these objects ex- 
cited the serious displeasure of his father, who regard- 
ed them as acts of juvenile folly and extravagance. 
Another circumstance strongly roused the old man's 
wrath. It appears that in those days the insertion of 
theatrical puffs formed a considerable source of news- 
paper income ; and yet young Walter determined at 
once to abolish them. It is not a little remarkable 
that these earliest acts of Mr. Walter, which so clearly 
marked his enterprise and high-mindedness, should 
have been made the subject of painful comments in 
his father's will. 

Journalism. 185 

Notwithstanding this serious opposition from within, 
the power and influence of the paper visibly and rapid- 
ly grew. The new editor concentrated in the columns 
of his paper a range of information such as had never 
before been attempted, or, indeed, thought possible. 
His vigilant eye was directed to every detail of his 
business. He greatly improved the reporting of pub- 
lic meetings, the money market, and other intelligence, 
aiming at greater fulness and accuracy. In the de- 
partment of criticism his labors were unwearied. He 
sought to elevate the character of the paper, and ren- 
dered it more dignified by insisting that it should be 
impartial. He thus conferred the greatest public service 
upon literature, the drama, and the fine arts, by protect- 
ing them against the evil influences of venal panegyric 
on the one hand, and of prejudiced hostility on the other. 

But the most remarkable feature of The Times 
that which emphatically commended it to public sup- 
port and insured its commercial success was its de- 
partment of foreign intelligence. At the time that 
Walter undertook the management of the journal Eu- 
rope was a vast theatre of war ; and in the conduct of 
commercial affairs not to speak of political move- 
ments it was of the most vital importance that early 
information should be obtained of affairs on the Con- 
tinent. The editor resolved to become himself the 
purveyor of foreign intelligence, and at great expense 
he despatched his agents in all directions, even in the 
track of armies ; while others were employed, under 
various disguises and by means of sundry pretexts, in 
many parts of the Continent. These agents collected 
information, and despatched it to London, often at 
considerable risks, for publication in The Times, where 
it usually appeared long in advance of the government 

The late Mr. Pryme, in his " Autobiographic Recol- 

186 The Walters of "The Times." 

lections,'' mentions a visit which he paid to Mr. Walter 
at his seat at Bearwood. "He described to me," says 
Mr. Prymc, " the cause of the large extension in the 
circulation of The Times. He was the first to estab- 
lish a foreign correspondent. This was Henry Crabb 
Robinson, at a salary of 300 a year. . . . Mr. Walter 
also established local reporters, instead of copying from 
the country papers. His father doubted the wisdom 
of such a large expenditure, but the son prophesied a 
gradual and certain success, which has actually been 

Mr. Robinson has described in his " Diary " the man- 
ner in which he became connected with the foreiern 


correspondence. "In January, 1807," he says, "I re- 
ceived, through my friend, J. D. Collier, a proposal 
from Mr. Walter that I should take up my residence 
at Altona, and become The Times correspondent. I 
was to receive from the editor of the Hamburger Cor- 
respondenten, all the public documents at his disposal, 
and was to have the benefit also of a mass of informa- 
tion of which the restraints of the German press did 
not permit him to avail himself. The honorarium I 
was to receive was ample with my habits of life. I 
gladly accepted the offer, and never repented having 
done so. My acquaintance with Mr. Walter ripened 
into friendship, and lasted as long as he lived." * 
Mr. Robinson was forced to leave Germany by the 

*/ / 

battle of Friedland and the treaty of Tilsit, which 
resulted in the naval coalition against England. Re- 
turning to London, he became foreign editor of The 
Times until the following year, when he proceeded to 
Spain as foreign correspondent. Mr. Walter had also 
an agent in the track of the army in the unfortunate 

* "Diary, Reminiscences, and Correspondence of Henry Crabb 
Robinson, Barrister-at-La\v, F.S.A.," vol. i. p. 231. 

Enterprise in News-gathering. 187 

Walcheren expedition; and The Times announced the 
capitulation of Flushing forty-eight hours before the 
news had arrived by any other channel. By this 
prompt method of communicating public intelligence, 
the practice, which had previously existed, of system- 
atically retarding the publication of foreign news by 
officials at the general post-office, who made gain by 
selling them to the Lombard Street brokers, was ef- 
fectually extinguished. 

This circumstance, as well as the independent course 
which Mr. Walter adopted in the discussion of foreign 
politics, explains in some measure the opposition which 
he had to encounter in the transmission of his despatch- 
es. As early as the year 1805, when he had come into 
collision with the government and lost the customs 
printing, The Times despatches were regularly stopped 
at the outports, while those of the ministerial journals 
were allowed to proceed. This might have crushed a 
weaker man, but it did not crush Walter. Of course 
he expostulated. He was informed at the home sec- 
retary's office that he might be permitted to receive 
his foreign papers as a favor. But as this implied 
the expectation of a favor from him in return, the 
proposal was rejected ; and, determined not to be 
baffled, he employed special couriers, at great cost, 
for the purpose of obtaining the earliest transmission 
of foreign intelligence. 

These important qualities enterprise, energy, busi- 
ness tact, and public spirit sufficiently account for 
his remarkable success. To these, however, must be 
added another of no small importance discernment 
and knowledge of character. Though himself the 

O O 

head and front of his enterprise, it was necessary that 
he should secure the services and co-operation of men 
of first-rate ability; and in the selection of such men 
his judgment was almost unerring. By his discern- 

188 The Walters of "The Times? 

ment and munificence he collected round him some of 
the ablest writers of the age. These were frequently 
revealed to him in the communications of correspond- 
ents, the author of the letters signed " Vetus ' being 
thus selected to write in the leading columns of the 
paper. But Walter himself was the soul of Tlie Times. 
It w r as he who gave the tone to its articles, directed 
its influence, and superintended its entire conduct with 
unremitting vigilance. 

Even in conducting the mechanical arrangements of 
the paper a business of no small difficulty he had 
often occasion to exercise promptness and boldness of 
decision in cases of emergency. Printers in those days 
were a rather refractory class of workmen, and not un- 
frequently took advantage of their position to impose 
hard terms on their employers, especially in the daily 
press, where everything must be promptly done within 
a very limited time. Thus, on one occasion, in 1810, 
the pressmen made a sudden demand upon the propri- 
etor for an increase of wages, and insisted upon a uni- 
form rate being paid to all hands, whether good or 
bad. Walter was at first disposed to make conces- 
sions to the men, but, having been privately informed 
that a combination was already entered into by the 
compositors, as w T ell as by the pressmen, to leave his 
employment suddenly, under circumstances that would 
have stopped the publication of the paper and inflicted 
on him the most serious injury, he determined to run 
all risks, rather than submit to what now appeared to 
him in the light of an extortion. 

The strike took place on a Saturday morning, when 
suddenly, and without notice, all the hands turned out. 
Mr. Walter had only a few hours' notice of it, but he 
had already resolved upon his course. He collected 
apprentices from half a dozen different quarters, and 
a few inferior workmen, who were glad to obtain em- 

The Strike." 189 

ployment on any terms. He himself stripped to his 
shirt-sleeves, and went to work with the rest, and for 
the next six-and-thirty hours he was incessantly em- 
ployed at case and at press. On the Monday morning 
the conspirators, who had assembled to triumph over 
his ruin, to their inexpressible amazement saw The 
Times issue from the publishing office at the usual 
hour, affording a memorable example of what one 
man's resolute energy may accomplish in a moment 
of difficulty. 

The journal continued to appear with regularity, 
though the printers employed at the office lived in a 
state of daily peril. The conspirators, finding them- 
selves baffled, resolved upon trying another game. 
They contrived to have two of the men employed by 
Walter as compositors apprehended as deserters from 
the royal navy. The men were taken before the mag- 
istrate, but the charge was only sustained by the testi- 
mony of clumsy, perjured witnesses, and fell to the 
ground. The turn-outs next proceeded to assault the 
new hands, when Mr. Walter resolved to throw around 
them the protection of the law. By the advice of 
counsel he had twenty-one of the conspirators appre- 
hended and tried, and nineteen of them were found 
guilty, and condemned to various periods of imprison- 
ment. From that moment combination was at an end 
in Printing-house Square. 

Mr. Walter was a good master, paying good wages, 
and contributing in many ways to the well-being of his 
workmen. Thus he founded a benefit society for their 
relief in sickness, releasing his men from the expenses 
connected with combination societies, and rendered his 
office one of the most advantageous situations for 
steady and skilled workmen in London the best 
proof of which is to be found in the fact that a very 
considerable number of the younger compositors in 

100 The Walters of "The Times." 

the office at this day are men whose fathers were 
printers in Mr. Walter's employment. 

But Mr. Walter's greatest achievement was his suc- 
cessful application of steam-power to newspaper print- 
ing. Although he had greatly improved the mechan- 
ical arrangements after he took command of the paper, 
the rate at which the copies could be printed off re- 
mained almost stationary. It took a very long time 
indeed to throw off, by the hand-labor of pressmen, 
the three or four thousand copies which then consti- 
tuted the ordinary circulation of The Times. On the 
occasion- of any event of great public interest being 
reported in the paper, it was found almost impossible 
to meet the demand for copies. Only about three 
hundred copies could be printed in the hour, with one 
man to ink the types and another to work the press, 
while the labor was very severe. Thus it took a long 
time to get out the daily impression, and very often 
the evening papers were out before The Times had 
half supplied the demand. 

Mr. Walter could not brook the tedium of this irk- 
some and laborious process. To increase the number 
of impressions, he resorted to various expedients. The 
type was set up in duplicate, and even in triplicate ; 
several Stanhope presses were kept constantly at work; 
and still the insatiable demands of the newsmen on cer- 
tain occasions could not be met. Thus the question 
was early forced upon his consideration, whether he 
could not devise machinery for the purpose of expe- 
diting the production of newspapers. Instead of three 
hundred impressions an hour, he wanted from one 
thousand five hundred to two thousand. Although 


such a speed as this seemed quite as chimerical as 
propelling a ship through the water against wind and 
tide at fifteen miles an hour, or running a locomotive 
on a railway at fifty, yet Mr. Walter was impressed 

Employment of Inventors. 191 

with the conviction that a much more rapid printing 
of newspapers was feasible than by the slow hand- 
labor process; and he endeavored to induce several in- 
genious mechanical contrivers to take up and work 
out his idea. 

The principle of producing impressions by means of 
a cylinder, and of inking the types by means of a roll- 
er, was not new. We have seen, in the preceding me- 
inoir, that as early as 1790 William Nicholson had pat- 
ented such a method, but his scheme had never been 
brought into practical operation. Mr. Walter endeav- 
ored to enlist Marc lambard Brunei one of the clev- 
erest inventors of the day in his proposed method of 
rapid printing by machinery; but, after laboring over 
a variety of plans for a considerable time, Brunei final- 
ly gave up the printing machine, unable to make any- 
thing of it. Mr. Walter next tried Thomas Martvn, 

V ' 

an ingenious young compositor, who had a scheme for 
a self-acting machine for working the printing-press. 
He was supplied with the necessary funds to enable 
him to prosecute his idea; but as Mr. Walter's father 
was opposed to the scheme, and as the funds became 
exhausted, this scheme also fell to the ground. 

As years passed on, the circulation of the paper in- 
creased, and the necessity for some more expeditious 
method of printing became still more urgent. Al- 
though Mr. Walter had declined to enter into an ar- 
rangement with Bensley in 1809, before Koenig had 
completed his invention of printing by cylinders, it 
was different five years later, when Koenig's printing 
machine was actually at work. In the preceding me- 
moir, the circumstances connected with the adoption 
of the invention by Mr. Walter are fully related ; as 
well as the announcement made in The Times on the 
29th of November, 1814 the day on which the first 
newspaper printed by steam was given to the world. 

192 The Walters of" The Times." 

But Koenig's printing machine was but the begin- 
ning of a great new branch of industry. After lie lial 
left Kngland in disgust, it remained for others to per- 
fect the invention; although the ingenious German was 
entitled to the greatest credit for having made the 
first satisfactory beginning. Great inventions are not 
brought forth at a heat. They are begun by one man, 
improved by another, and perfected by a whole host of 
mechanical inventors. Numerous patents were taken 
out for the mechanical improvement of printing. Don- 
kin and Bacon contrived a machine in 1813, in which 
the types were placed on a revolving prism. One of 
them was made for the University of Cambridge, but 


it was found too complicated ; the inking was defec- 
tive ; and the project was abandoned. In 1815, Mr. 
Cowper obtained a patent for curving stereotype plates 
for the purpose of fixing them upon a cylinder. Sev- 
eral of his machines were used for printing notes at 
the Bank of England; but they were never employed 
on any newspaper. 

Mr. Applegarth was the next to improve newspaper 
printing. He was mechanical engineer at The Times 
office. At first he directed his attention to the simpli- 
fication of Koenig's machine, and improved the rollers 
by which the types were inked. But in 1818 the 
year after Koenig left England Applegarth and Cow- 
per patented important improvements in cylindrical 
printing machinery. Two drums were placed betwixt 
the cylinders to insure accuracy in the register, over 
and under which the sheet was conveyed in its prog- 
ress from one cylinder to the other ; while at the 
same time further improvements were introduced in 
the inking apparatus. By successive additions to the 
machinery which formed the subjects of six several 
patents by Applegarth and Cowper the rapidity of 
printing was greatly improved. The number printed 

The Express from Paris. 193 

went up from one thousand one hundred to four or 
five thousand, by the four - cylinder machines, per 

Mr. Walter continued to devote the same unremit- 
ting attention to his business as before. He looked 
into all the details, was familiar with every depart- 
ment, and, on an emergency, was willing to lend a 
hand in any work requiring more than ordinary de- 
spatch. Thus, it is related of him that, in the spring 
of 1833, shortly after his return to Parliament as mem- 
ber for Berkshire, he was at The Times office one day, 
when an express arrived from Paris, bringing the 
speech of the King of the French on the opening of 
the Chambers. The express arrived at ten A.M., after 
the day's impression of the paper had been published, 
and the editors and compositors had left the office. 
It was important that the speech should be published 
at once ; and Mr. Walter immediately set to work 
upon it. He first translated the document ; then, as- 
sisted by one compositor, he took his place at the type- 
case, and set it up. To the amazement of one of the 
staff who dropped in about noon, he " found Mr. Wal- 
ter, M.P. for Berks, working in his shirt-sleeves !" The 
speech was set and printed, and the second edition was 
in the City by one o'clock. Had he not "turned to' : 
as he did, the whole expense of the express service 
would have been lost. And it is probable that there 
was not another man in the whole establishment who 
could have performed the double work intellectual 
and physical which he that day executed with his 
own head and hands. 

Such an incident curiously illustrates his eminent 
success in life. It was simply the result of persever- 
ing diligence, which shrank from no effort and neglect- 

O O ' ' 

ed no detail; as well as of prudence allied to boldness, 
but certainly not "of chance;" and, above all, of high- 


The Walters of " The Times." 

minded integrity and unimpeachable honoty. It i-, 
perhaps, unnecessary to add more as to the merits of 
Mr. AValter as a man of enterprise in business, or a> a 
public man and a member of Parliament. The great 
work of his life was the development of his journal, 
the history of which forms the best monument to his 
merits and his powers. 

The progressive improvement of steam printing ma- 
chinery was not affected by Mr. Walter's death, which 
occurred in 1847. He had given it an impulse which 
it never lost. In 1846 Mr. Applegarth patented certain 
important improvements in the steam press. The gen- 
eral disposition of his new machine was that of a ver- 
tical cylinder two hundred inches in circumference, 
holding on it the type and distributing surfaces, and 
surrounded alternately by inking rollers and pressing 
cylinders. Mr. Applegarth estimated in his specifica- 
tion that in his new r vertical system the machine, with 
eight cylinders, would print about ten thousand sheets 
per hour. The new printing-press came into use in 
1848, and completely justified the anticipations of its 

Applegarth's machine, though successfully employed 
at The Times office, did not come into general use. It 
was, to a large extent, superseded by the invention of 
Richard M. Hoe, of New York. Hoe's process con- 
sisted in placing the types upon a horizontal cylinder, 
against which the sheets were pressed by exterior and 
smaller cylinders. The types were arranged in seg- 
ments of a circle, each segment forming a frame that 
could be fixed on the cylinder. These printing ma- 
chines were made, with from two to ten subsidiary 
cylinders. The first presses sent by Messrs. Hoe & Co. 
to this country were for LloycTs Weekly Newspaper, 
and were of the six-cylinder size. These were followed 
by two ten-cylinder machines, ordered by the present 

History of Stereotyping. 195 

Mr. Walter, for The Times. Other English newspaper 
proprietors both in London and the provinces were 
supplied with the machines, as many as thirty -five 
having been imported from America between 1856 
and 1862. It may be mentioned that the two ten-cyl- 
inder Hoes made for The Times were driven at the 
rate of thirty-two revolutions per minute, which gives 
a printing rate of nineteen thousand two hundred per 
hour, or about sixteen thousand including stoppages. 

Much of the ingenuity exercised both in the Apple- 
garth and Hoe machines was directed to the " chase," 
which had to hold securely upon its curved face the 
mass of movable type required to form a page. And 
now the enterprise of the proprietor of The Times 
again came to the front. The change effected in the 
art of newspaper printing by the process of stereo- 
types, is scarcely inferior to that by which the late 
Mr. Waiter applied steam-power to the printing-press, 
and certainly equal to that by which the rotary press 
superseded the reciprocatory action of the flat machine. 
It was commenced, and has been elaborated to its pres- 
ent point, by his son, the present Mr. Walter, at The 
Times office, from which it has been copied by printers 
in all parts of the world. 

Stereotyping has a curious history. Many attempts 
were made to obtain solid printing-surfaces by transfer 
from similar surfaces, composed, in the first place, of 
movable types. The first who really succeeded was 
one Ged, an Edinburgh goldsmith, who, after a series 
of difficult experiments, arrived at a knowledge of the 
art of stereotyping. The first method employed was 
to pour liquid stucco, of the consistency of cream, over 
the types; and this, when solid, gave a perfect mould. 
Into this the molten metal was poured, and a plate 
was produced, accurately resembling the page of type. 
As long ago as 1730, Ged obtained a privilege from 

196 TL, Walters of "The Times." 

the rniversity of Cambridge for printing JJibles and 
1 'raver-books after this method. ]>ut the workmen 
were dead against it, as they thought it would destroy 
their trade. The compositors and the pressmen pur- 
posely battered the letters in the absence of their em- 
ployers. In consequence of this interference Ged was 
ruined, and died in poverty. 

The art had, however, been born, and could not be 
kept down. It was revived in France, in Germany, 
and America. Fifty years after the discovery of Ged, 
Tilloch and Foulis, of Glasgow, patented a similar in- 
vention, without knowing anything of what Ged had 
done ; and after great labor and many experiments, 
they produced plates, the impressions from which 
could not be distinguished from those taken from the 
types from which they were cast. Some years after- 
wards, Lord Stanhope, to whom the art of printing is 
much indebted, greatly improved the art of stereotyp- 
ing, though it was still quite inapplicable to newspaper 
printing. The merit of this latter invention is due to 
the enterprise of the present proprietor of The Times. 

Mr. Walter began his experiments, aided by an in- 
genious Italian founder named Dellagana, early in 1856. 
It was ascertained that when papier-mache matrices 
were rapidly dried and placed in 'a mould, separate 
columns might be cast in them with stereotype metal, 
type high, planed flat, and finished with sufficient speed 
to get up the duplicate of a form of four pages fitted 
for printing. Steps were taken to adapt these type- 
high columns to the Applegarth presses, then worked 
with polygonal chases. When the Hoe machines were 
introduced, instead of dealing with the separate col- 
umns, the papier - mdche matrix was taken from the 
whole page at one operation, by roller - presses con- 
structed for the purpose. The impression taken off 
in this manner is as perfect as if it had been made in 

Newspaper Stereotyping. 197 

the finest wax. The matrix is rapidly dried on heat- 
ing surfaces, and then accurately adjusted in a casting 
machine curved to the exact circumference of the main 
drum of the printing-press, and fitted with a terra-cotta 
top to secure a casting of uniform thickness. On pour- 
ing stereotype metal into this mould, a curved plate 
was obtained, which, after undergoing a certain amount 
of trimming at two machines, could be taken to press 
and set to work within twenty-five minutes from the 
time at which the process began. 

Besides the great advantages obtained from uniform 
sets of the plates, which might be printed on different 
machines at the rate of fifty thousand impressions an 
hour, or such additional number as might be required, 
there is this other great advantage, that there is no 
wear and tear of type in the curved chases by obstruc- 
tive friction ; and that the font, instead of wearing 
out in two years, might last for twenty; for the plates, 
after doing their work for one day, are melted down 
into a new impression for the next day's printing. At 
the same time, the original type-page, safe from injury, 
can be made to yield any number of copies that may 
be required by the exigencies of the circulation. It 
will be sufficiently obvious that by the multiplication 
of stereotype plates and printing machines, there is 
practically no limit to the number of copies of a news- 
paper that may be printed within the time which the 
process now usually occupies. 

This new method of newspaper stereotyping was 
originally employed on the cylinders of the Applegarth 
and Hoe presses. But it is equally applicable to those 
of the Walter Press, a brief description_jQf_,which we 
now subjoin. As the constructi^tf^Sphe fir 
newspaper machine was due/m tne' enterprise of y < 
late Mr. Walter, so the constraictipii of this last an, 
most improved machine is ftlire in like manner o 

o : ie, 



The W<tff< rs of The Times:'' 

enterprise of his son. The nc\v \V;il(cr Press is not, 

like Applegarth and ( 1 owper's, ami Hoe's, the improve- 

ment of an existing arrangement, but an almost entire- 
ly original invention. 

In the " Reports of the Jurors on the Plate, Letter- 
press, and other Modes of Printing," at the Interna- 
tional Exhibition of 1862, the following passage occurs: 
"It is incumbent on the reporters to point out that, 
excellent and surprising as are the results achieved by 
the Iloe and Applegarth machines, they cannot be con- 
sidered satisfactory while those machines themselves 
are so liable to stoppages in working. No true me- 
chanic can contrast the immense American ten-cylin- 
der presses of T/te Times with the simple calico print- 
ing machine, without feeling that the latter furnishes 

v_* 9 c_7 

the true type to which the mechanism for newspaper 
printing should as much as possible approximate." 

On this principle, so clearly put forward, the invent- 
ors of the Walter Press proceeded in the contrivance 
of the new machine. It is true that William Nichol- 
son, in his patent of 1790, prefigured the possibility of 
printing on " paper, linen, cotton, woollen, and other ar- 
ticles," by means of type fixed on the outer surface of 
a revolving cylinder; but no steps were taken to carry 
his views into effect. Sir Rowland Hill also, before he 
became connected with post-office reform, revived the 
contrivance of Nicholson, and referred to it in his pat- 
ent of 1835 (No. 6762) ; and he also proposed to use 
continuous rolls of paper, which Fourdrinier and Don- 
kin had made practicable by their invention of the 
paper-making machine about the year 1804; but both 
Nicholson's and Hill's patents remained a dead let- 

* After the appearance of my article on the Koenig and Walter 
Presses in Macvdllans Magazine for December, 18C9, I received the 
following letter from Sir Rowland II ill : 

Construction of Presses. 199 

It may be easy to conceive a printing machine, or 
even to make a model of one; but to construct an act- 
ual working printing-press, that must be sure and un- 
failing in its operations, is a matter surrounded with 
difficulties. At every step fresh contrivances have to 
be introduced; they have to be tried again and again; 
perhaps they are eventually thrown aside to give place 
to new arrangements. Thus the head of the inventor 
is kept in a state of constant turmoil. Sometimes the 
whole machine has to be remodelled from beginning 
to end. One step is gained by degrees, then another; 
and at last, after years of labor, the new invention 

"IlAMPSTKAr>, January 5th, 1STO. 

"MY DEAR SIR, In your very interesting article in Macmillans 
Magazine on the subject of the printing machine, you have uncon- 
sciously done me some injustice. To convince yourself of this, you 
have only to read the enclosed paper. The case, however, will be 
strengthened when I tell you that as for back as the year 185G, that 
is, seven years after the expiry of my patent, I pointed out to Mr. 
Mow bray Morris, the manager of The Times, the fitness of my ma- 
chine for the printing of that journal, and the fact that serious diffi- 
culties to its adoption had been removed. I also, at his request, fur- 
nished him with a copy of the document with which I now trouble 
you. Feeling sure that you would like to know the truth on any sub- 
ject of which you may treat, I should be glad to explain the matter 
more fully, and for this purpose will, with your permission, call upon 
you at any time you may do me the favor to appoint. 

" Faithfully yours, ROWLAND HILL." 

On further inquiry I obtained the Patent No. G762 ; but found that 
nothing practical had ever come of it. The pamphlet enclosed by Sir 
Rowland Hill in the above letter is entitled "The Rotary Printing 
Machine." It is very clever and ingenious, like everything he did. 
But it was still left for some one else to work out the invention into a 
practical working printing-press. The subject is fully referred to in 
the " Life of Sir Rowland Hill " (vol. i. p. 221, 525). In his final word 
on the subject, Sir Rowland "gladly admits the enormous difficulty of 
bringing a complex machine into practical wse," a difficulty, he says, 
which " has been most successfully overcome by the patentees of the 
Walter Press." 

2oO The Walter* <>f"The Time*? 

comes before the world in the form of a practical 
working machine. 


In 1SG2 Mr. Walter began in The Times office, with 
tools and machinery of his own, experiments for con- 
structing a perfecting - press which should print the 
} taper from rolls of paper instead of from sheets. Like 
his father, Mr. Walter possessed an excellent discrim- 
ination of character, and selected the best men to aid 
him in his important undertaking. Numerous difficul- 
ties had, of course, to be surmounted. Plans were va- 
ried from time to time ; new methods were tried, al- 
tered, and improved, simplification being aimed at 
throughout. Six long years passed in this pursuit of 
the possible. At length the clear light dawned. In 
1868 Mr. Walter ventured to order the construction of 
three machines on the pattern of the first complete one 
which had been made. By the end of 1869 these were 
finished and placed in a room by themselves ; and a 
fourth was afterwards added. There the printing of 
The Times is now done, in less than half the time it 
previously occupied, and with one-fifth the number of 

The most remarkable feature in the Walter Press is 
its wonderful simplicity of construction. Simplicity 
of arrangement is always the beau ideal of the me- 
chanical engineer. This printing - press is not only 
simple, but accurate, compact, rapid, and economical. 
While each of the ten-feeder Hoe machines occupies 
a large and lofty room, and requires eighteen men to 
feed and work it, the new Walter machine occupies a 
space of only about fourteen feet by five, or less than 
any newspaper machine yet introduced ; and it requires 
only three lads to take away, with half the attention 
of an overseer, who easily superintends two of the ma- 
chines while at work. The Hoe machine turns out 
seven thousand impressions printed on both sides in 

The Walter Press. 201 

the hour, whereas the Walter machine turns out twelve 
thousand impressions completed in the same time. 

The new Walter Press does not in the least resemble 
any existing printing machine, unless it be the calen- 
dering machine which furnished its type. At the 
printing end it looks like a collection of small cylin- 
ders or rollers. The first thing to be observed is the 
continuous roll of paper, four miles long, tightly mount- 
ed on a reel, which, when the machine is going, flies 
round with immense rapidity. The web of paper taken 
up by the first roller is led into a series of small hollow 
cylinders filled with water and steam, perforated with 
thousands of minute holes. By this means the paper 
is properly damped before the process of printing is 
begun. The roll of paper, drawn by nipping rollers, 
next flies through to the cylinder on which the stereo- 
type plates are fixed, so as to form the four pages of 
the ordinary sheet of The Times / there it is lightly 
pressed against the type and printed ; then it passes 
downwards round another cylinder covered with cloth, 
and reversed; next to the second type-covered roller, 
where it takes the impression exactly on the other side 
of the remaining four pages. It next reaches one of 
the most ingenious contrivances of the invention the 
cutting machinery by means of which the paper is 
divided by a quick knife into the five thousand five 
hundred sheets of which the entire web consists. The 
tapes hurry the now completely printed newspaper up 
an inclined plane, from which the divided sheets are 
showered down in a continuous stream by an oscillat- 
ing frame, where they are met by two boys, who ad- 
just the sheets as they fall. The reel of four miles 
long is printed and divided into newspapers complete 
in about twenty-five minutes. 

The machine is almost entirely self-acting, from the 
pumping up of the ink into the ink-box out of the 

202 The Walters of "The Times." 

tern In-low stairs to the registering of the numbi-r> as 
they are printed in the manager's room above. It is 
always dillieult to describe a machine in words. Noth- 
ing but a series of sections and diagrams could give 
the reader an idea of the construction of this unri- 
valled instrument. The time to see it and wonder at 
it is when the press is in full work. And even then 
you can see but little of its construction, for the cyl- 
inders are wheeling round with immense velocity. 
The rapidity with which the machine works may be 
inferred from the fact that the printing cylinders 
(round which the stereotyped plates are fixed), while 
making their impressions on the paper, travel at the 
surprising speed of two hundred revolutions a minute, 
or at the rate of about nine miles an hour ! 

Contrast this speed with the former slowness. Go 
back to the beginning of the century. Before the year 
1814 the turn-out of newspapers was only about three 
hundred single impressions in an hour; that is, impres- 
sions printed only on one side of the paper. Koenig, 
by his invention, increased the issue to one thousand 
one hundred impressions. Applegarth and Cowper, 
by their four-cylinder machine, increased the issue to 
four thousand, and by the eight-cylinder machine to 
ten thousand an hour. But these were only impres- 
sions printed on one side of the paper. The first per- 
fecting-press that is, printing simultaneously the pa- 
per on both sides was the Walter, the speed of which 
has been raised to twelve thousand, though, if neces- 
sary, it can produce excellent work at the rate of sev- 
enteen thousand complete copies of an eight -page 
paper per hour. Then, with the new method of ster- 
eotyping by means of which the plates can be 
infinitely multiplied and by the aid of additional 
machines, the supply of additional impressions is ab- 
solutely unlimited. 

Papers Printed on the ^Walter Press. 203 

The Walter press is not a monopoly. It is manu- 
factured at The Times office, and is supplied to all 
comers. Among the other daily papers printed by its 
means in this country are the Daily News, the Scots- 
man, and the Birmingham Daily Post. The first 
Walter press was sent to America in 1872, where it 
was employed to print the Missouri Republican, at St. 
Louis, the leading newspaper of the Mississippi Val- 
ley. An engineer and a skilled workman from The 
Times office accompanied the machinery. On arriving 
at St. Louis, the materials were unpacked, lowered into 
the machine-room, where they were erected and ready 
for work in the short space of five days. 

The Walter press was an object of great interest at 
the Centennial Exhibition held at Philadelphia in 18*76, 
where it was shown printing the New York Times, one 
of the most influential journals in America. The press 
was surrounded with crowds of visitors intently watch- 
ing its perfect and regular action, " like a thing of life." 
The New York Times said of it: "The Walter press 
is the most perfect printing-press yet known to man ; 
invented by the most powerful journal of the Old 
World, and adopted as the very best press to be had 
for its purposes by the most influential journal of the 
New World. ... It is an honor to Great Britain to 
have such an exhibit in her display, and a lasting ben- 
efit to the printing business, especially to newspapers. 
. . . The first printing-press run by steam was erected 
in the year 1814, in the office of The Times, by the 
father of him who is the present proprietor of that 
world-famous journal. The machine of 1814 was de- 
scribed in The Times of the 29th of November in that 
year, and the account given of it closed in these words: 
'The whole of these complicated acts is performed 
with such a velocity and simultaneousness of move- 
ment that no less than eleven thousand sheets are im- 

L' 4 The Watt, rs of The Times." 

pivsM-d in one hour.' j\Iir<il>il<' <t/<-tti ! And the Wal- 
ler pivss of to-day can run off seventeen thousand 
copies an hour, printed on both sides. This is not 
bad work for one man's lifetime." 

It is unnecessary to say more about this marvellous 
machine. Its completion forms the crown of the in- 
dustry which it represents, and of the enterprise of 
the journal which it prints. 



"The Images of men's wits and knowledges remain in Books, ex- 
empted from the wrong of time, and capable of perpetual renovation. 
Neither are they fitly to be called Images, because they generate still, 
and cast their seeds in the minds of others, provoking and causing 
infinite actions and opinions in succeeding ages ; so that, if the inven- 
tion of the Ship was thought so noble, which carrieth riches and com- 
modities from place to place, and consociateth the most remote Ke- 
gions in participation of their Fruits, how much more are letters to be 
magnified, which, as Ships, pass through the vast Seas of time, and 
make ages so distant to participate of the wisdom, illuminations, and 
inventions, the one of the other ?" BACON : On the Proficience and 
Advancement of Learning. 

STEAM has proved as useful and potent in the print- 
ing of books as in the printing of newspapers. Down 
to the end of last century "the divine art," as print- 
ing was called, had made comparatively little prog- 
ress. That is to say, although books could be beauti- 
fully printed by hand-labor, they could not be turned 
out in any large numbers. 

The early printing-press was rude. It consisted of 
a table, along which the form of type, furnished with 
a tympan and frisket, was pushed by hand. The 
platen worked vertically between standards, and was 
brought down for the impression, and raised after it, 
by a common screw, worked by a bar handle. The 
inking was performed by balls covered with skin pelts; 
they were blacked with ink, and beaten down on the 

20* : 11 ';///<//// Clowes. 

type- by the pressman. The inking was consequently 

In 1798, Earl Stanhope perfected the press that bears 
his name. lie did not patent it, but made his inven- 
tion over to the public. The inking was also improve- 1. 
Cylinders, covered with a composition of treacle and 
glue, were used instead of balls ; and the>e, covered 
with ink, were rolled over the type. The ink was 
thus applied in a more even manner, and with a con- 
siderable decrease of labor. With the Stanhope press 
printing was as far advanced as it could possibly be 
by means of hand-labor. About two hundred and fifty 
impressions could be taken off, on one side, in an hour. 

But this, after all, was a very small result. When 
books were produced so slowly there could be no 
popular literature. Books were still articles for the 
few instead of the many. Steam - power, however, 
completely altered the state of affairs. When Koe- 
nig invented his steam press he showed, by the print- 
ing of Clarkson's "Life of Penn" the first sheets ever 
printed with a cylindrical press that books might be 
printed neatly, as well as cheaply, by the new machine. 
Mr. Bensley continued the process after Koenig left 
England ; and in 1824, according to Johnson, in his 
" Typographia," his son was "driving an extensive 

In the following year, 1825, Archibald Constable, of 
Edinburgh, propounded his plan for revolutionizing 
the art of bookselling. Instead of books being articles 
of luxury, he proposed to bring them into general con- 
sumption. He would sell them, not by thousands, but 
by hundreds of thousands, "ay, by millions;" and he 
would accomplish this by the new methods of multi- 
plication by machine printing and by steam-power. 
Mr. Constable accordingly issued a library of excel- 
lent books; and, although he was ruined not by this 

His Early Life. 207 

enterprise, but the other speculations into which he 
entered he set the example which other enterprising 
minds were ready to follow. Among these was Charles 
Knight, who set the steam presses of William Clowes 
to work for the purposes of the Society for the Diffu- 
sion of Useful Knowledge. 

William Clowes was the founder of the vast print- 
ing establishment which bears his name ; and his 
career furnishes another striking illustration of the 
force of industry and character. He was born on the 
1st of January, 1779. His father was educated at 
Oxford, and kept a large school at Chichester ; but, 
dying when William Avas but an infant, he left his 
widow, with straitened means, to bring up her family. 
At a proper age, William was bound apprentice to a 
printer at Chichester; and, after serving him for seven 
years, he came up to London, at the beginning of 1802, 
to seek employment as a journeyman. He succeeded in 
finding work at a small office on Tower-hill, at a small 
wage. The first lodgings he took cost him 5s. a week; 
but, finding this beyond his means, he hired a room in 
a garret at 2s. 6c?., which was as much as he could af- 
ford out of his scanty earnings. 

The first job he was put to was the setting up of a 
large poster-bill, a kind of work which he had been ac- 
customed to execute in the country, and he knocked 
it together so expertly that his master, Mr. Teape, on 
seeing what he could do, said to him, "Ah! I find you 
are just the fellow for me." The young man, how- 
ever, felt so strange in London, where he was without 
a friend or acquaintance, that, at the end of the first 
month, he thought of leaving it, and yearned to go 
back to his native city. But he had not funds enough 
to enable him to follow his inclinations, and he ac- 
cordingly remained in the great city, to work, to per- 
severe, and finally to prosper. He continued at Teape's 

208 \Vdliam Clowes. 

for about two years, living frugally, and even contriv- 
ing to save a little money. 

lie then thought of beginning business on his own 
account. The small scale on which printing was car- 
ried on in those days enabled him to make a start with 
comparatively little capital. By means of his own 
savings and the help of his friends, he was enabled to 
take a little print ing-office in Villiers Street, Strand, 
about the end of 1803 ; and then he began with one 
printing-press and one assistant. His stock of type 
was so small that he was under the necessity of work- 
ing it from day to day like a banker's gold. "\Vhcn 
his first job came in, he continued to work for the 
greater part of three nights, setting the type during 
the day, and working it off at night, in order that the 
type might be distributed for resetting on the follow- 
ing morning. He succeeded, however, in executing 
his first job to the entire satisfaction of his first cus- 

His business gradually increased; and then, with his 
constantly saved means, he was enabled to increase his 
stock of type, and to undertake larger jobs. Industry 
always tells, and in the long-run leads to prosperity. 
He married early, but he married well. He was only 
twenty-four when he found his best fortune in a good, 
affectionate wife. Through this lady's cousin, Mr. 
Winchester, the young printer was shortly introduced 
to important official business. His punctual execution 
of orders, the accuracy of his work, and the despatch 
with which he turned it out, soon brought him friends, 
and his obliging and kindly disposition firmly secured 
them. Thus, in a few years, the humble beginner with 
one press became a printer on a large scale. The 
small concern expanded into a considerable printing- 
office in Northumberland Court, which was furnished 
with many presses and a large stock of type. The 

His Aims. 209 

office was, unfortunately, burned down, but a larger 
office rose in its place. 

What Mr. Clowes principally aimed at in carrying 
on his business was, accuracy, speed, and quantity. 
He did not seek to produce editions de luxe in limited 
numbers, but large impressions of works in popular 
demand travels, biographies, histories, blue-books, 
and official reports, in any quantity. For this pur- 
pose he found the process of hand-printing too tedious, 
as well as too costly, and hence he early turned his at- 
tention to book-printing by machine presses driven by 
steam-power, in this matter following the example of 
Mr. Walter of The Times, who had for some years em- 
ployed the same method for newspaper printing. 

Applegarth and Cowper's machines had greatly ad- 
vanced the art of printing. They secured perfect reg- 
ister, and the sheets were printed off more neatly, 
regularly, and expeditiously than by any other meth- 
od. In 1823, accordingly, Mr. Clowes erected his first 
steam-presses, and he soon found abundance of work 
for them. But to produce steam requires boilers and 
engines, the working of which occasions smoke and 
noise. Now, as the printing-office, with its steam 
presses, was situated in Northumberland Court, close 
to the palace of the Duke of Northumberland, at Char- 
ing Cross, Mr. Clowes was required to abate the nuis- 
ance, and to stop the noise and dirt occasioned by the 
use of his engines. This he failed to do, and the duke 
commenced an action against him. 

The case was tried in June, 1824, in the Court of 
Common Pleas. It was ludicrous to hear the extrav- 
agant terms in which the counsel for the plaintiff and 
his witnesses described the nuisance the noise made 
by the engine in the underground cellar, sometimes 
like thunder, at other times like a threshing-machine, 
and then again like the rumbling of carts and wagons. 

210 William Clmvcs. 

The print CT ha<l retained the attorney -general, .Mr. 
Copley, afterwards Lord Lyndhurst, who conducted 
his case with surprising ability. The cross-examina- 
tion of a foreign artist, employed by the duke to re- 
paint some portraits of the Cornaro family by Titian, 
is said to have been one of the finest things on record. 


The sly and pungent humor, and the banter with which 
the counsel derided and laughed down this witness, 
were inimitable. The printer won his case, but he 
eventually consented to remove his steam presses from 
the neighborhood on the duke paying him a certain 
sum to be determined by the award of arbitrators. 

It happened about this period that a sort of murrain 
fell upon the London publishers. After the failure of 
Constable, at Edinburgh, they came down one after 
another like a pack of cards. Authors are not the 
only people who lose labor and money by publishers ; 
there are also cases where publishers are ruined by 
authors. Printers, also, now lost heavily. In one 
week Mr. Clowes sustained losses through the failure 


of London publishers to the extent of about 25,000. 
Happily, the large sum which the arbitrators awarded 
him for the removal of his printing-presses enabled 
him to tide over the difficulty; he stood his ground 
unshaken, and his character in the trade stood higher 
than ever. 

In the following year Mr. Clowes removed to Duke 
Street, Blackfriars, w r here large premises were erected 
upon the site of Applegarth and Cowper's machine- 
works. There his business transactions assumed a 
form of unprecedented magnitude, and kept pace with 
the great demand for popular information which set in 
with such force about fifty years ago. In the course 
of ten years as w r e find from the "Encyclopaedia 
Metropolitana " there were twenty of Applegarth and 
Cowper's machines, worked by two five-horse engines. 

diaries KnigMs Publications. 211 

From these presses were issued the numerous admira- 
ble volumes and publications of the Society for the Dif- 
fusion of Useful Knowledge; the treatises on "Physi- 
ology," by Roget, and " Animal Mechanics," by Charles 
Bell ; the " Elements of Physics," by Neill Arnott ; 
"The Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties," by G. 
L. Craik, a most fascinating book ; the " Library of 
Useful Knowledge;" the Penny Magazine, the first 
illustrated publication, and the Penny Cydopceclia, 
that admirable compendium of knowledge and science. 

These publications were of great use. Some of 
them were printed in great numbers. The Penny 
3fagazine> of which Charles Knight was editor, was 
perhaps too good, because it was too scientific. Nev- 
ertheless, it reached a circulation of two hundred 
thousand copies. The Penny Cyclopcedia was still 
better. It was original, and yet cheap. The articles 
were written by the best men that could be found in 
their special departments of knowledge. The sale was 
originally seventy-five thousand weekly ; but, as the 
plan enlarged, the price was increased from \d. to 2<, 
and then to 4d. At the end of the second year the 
circulation had fallen to forty-four thousand, and at 
the end of the third year to twenty thousand. 

It was unfortunate for Mr. Knight to be so much 
under the influence of his society. Had the Cyclo- 
pedia been under his own superintendence it would 
have founded his fortune. As it was, he lost over 
30,000 by the venture. The Penny Magazine, also, 
went down in circulation, until it became a non-pay- 
ing publication, and then it was discontinued. It is 
curious to contrast the fortunes of William Chambers, 
of Edinburgh, with those of Charles Knight, of Lon- 
don. Chambers^ Edinburgh Journal was begun in 
February, 1832, and the Penny Magazine in March, 
1832. Chambers was, perhaps, shrewder than Knight. 

212 William Clowes. 

His journal was as good, though without illustrations; 
but he contrived to mix up amusement with useful 
knowledge. It may be a weakness, but the public like 
to be entertained, even while they are feeding upon 
better food. Hence Chambers succeeded, while Knight 
failed. The Penny Magazine was discontinued in 1845, 
whereas Chambers' 8 Edinburgh Journal has maintained 
its popularity to the present day. Chambers, also, like 
Knight, published an " Encyclopedia," which secured 
a large circulation. But he was not trammelled by a 

'society, and the " Encyclopedia " has become a valu- 
able property. 

The publication of these various works would not 
have been possible without the aid of the steam print- 
ing-press. When Mr. Edward Cowper was examined 
before a committee of the House of Commons, he said, 
"The ease with which the principles and illustrations 
of art might be diffused is, I think, so obvious that it 
is hardly necessary to say a word about it. Here you 
may see it exemplified in the Penny Magazine. Such 
works as this could not have existed without the print- 
ing machine." He was asked, "In fact, the mechan- 
ic and the peasant, in the most remote parts of the 
country, have now an opportunity of seeing tolerably 
correct outlines of form which they never could 
behold before?" To which he answered, "Exactly; 
and, literally, at the price they used to give for a song." 
"Is there not, therefore, a greater chance of calling 
genius into activity?" "Yes," he said, "not merely 
by books creating an artist here and there, but by the 
general elevation of the taste of the public." 

Mr. Clowes was always willing to promote deserv- 
ing persons in his office. One of these rose from step 
to step, and eventually became one of the most pros- 
perous publishers in London. He entered the service 
as an errand-boy, and got his meals in the kitchen. 

His Apprentice, John Parker. 213 

Being fond of reading, he petitioned Mrs. Clowes to 
let him sit somewhere, apart from the other servants, 
where he might read his book in quiet. Mrs. Clowes 
at length entreated her husband to take him into the 
office, for "Johnnie Parker was such a good boy." 
He consented, and the boy took his place at a clerk's 
desk. He was well-behaved, diligent, and attentive. 
As he advanced in years, his steady and steadfast con- 
duct showed that he could be trusted. Young fellows 
like these always make their way in life; for character 
invariably tells, not only in securing respect, but in 
commanding confidence. Parker was promoted from 
one post to another, until he was at length appointed 
overseer over the entire establishment. 

A circumstance shortly after occurred which enabled 
Mr. Clowes to advance him, though greatly to his own 
inconvenience, to another important post. The syn- 
dics of Cambridge were desirous that Mr. Clowes 


should go down there to set their printing-office in 
order ; they offered him 400 a year if he would only 
appear occasionally, and see that the organization was 
kept complete. He declined, because the magnitude 
of his own operations had now become so great that 
they required his unremitting attention. He, however, 
strongly recommended Parker to the office, though 
he could ill spare him. But he would not stand in 
the young man's way, and he was appointed accord- 
ingly. He did his work most effectually at Cambridge, 
and put the University Press into thorough working 

As the Penny Magazine and other publications of 
the Society of Useful Knowledge were now making 
their appearance, the clergy became desirous of bring- 
ing out a religious publication of a popular character, 
and they were in search for a publisher. Parker, who 
was well known at Cambridge, was mentioned to the 

William Clowes. 

Bishop of London as the most likely person. An in- 
troduction took place, and after an hour's conversation 
with Parker, the bishop went to his friends and said, 
" This is the very man we want." An offer was ac- 
cordingly made to him to undertake the publication 
of the Saturday Magazine and the other publica- 
tions of the Christian Knowledge Society, which he 
accepted. It is unnecessary to follow his fortunes. 
His progress was steady ; he eventually became the 
publisher of Fraser^s Magazine and of the works of 
John Stuart Mill and other well-known writers. Mill 
never forgot his appreciation and generosity; for when 
his " System of Logic " had been refused by the lead- 
ing London publishers, Parker prized the book at its 
rightful value and introduced it to the public. 

To return to Mr. Clowes. In the course of a few 
years, the original humble establishment of the Sussex 
compositor, beginning with one press and one assistant, 
grew up to be one of the largest printing-offices in the 
world. It had twenty-five steam presses, twenty-eight 
hand presses, six hydraulic presses, and gave direct 
employment to over five hundred persons, and indirect 
employment to probably more than ten times that 
number. Besides the works connected with his print- 
ing-office, Mr. Clowes found it necessary to cast his 
own types, to enable him to command on emergency 
any quantity ; and to this he afterwards added stereo- 
typing on an immense scale. He possessed the power 
of supplying his compositors with a stream of new type 
at the rate of about fifty thousand pieces a day. In 
this way, the weight of type in ordinary use became 
very great; it amounted to not less than five hundred 
tons, and the stereotyped plates to about two thousand 
five hundred tons the value of the latter being not 
less than half a million sterling. 

Mr. Clowes would not hesitate, in the height of his 

Composing Machines. 215 

career, to have tons of type locked up for months in 
some ponderous blue-book. To print a report of a 
hundred folio pages in the course of a day or during 
a night, or of a thousand pages in a week, was no un- 
common occurrence. From his gigantic establishment 
were turned out not fewer than seven hundred and 
twenty-five thousand printed sheets, or equal to thirty 
thousand volumes a week. Nearly forty-five thousand 
pounds of paper were printed weekly. The quantity 
printed on both sides per week, if laid down in a path 
of twenty -two and one quarter inches broad, would 
extend one hundred and sixty-three miles in length. 
About the year 1840, an Italian inventor brought 

/ i^j 

out a composing machine, and submitted it to Mr. 
Clowes for approval. But Mr. Clowes was getting too 
old to take up and push any new invention. He was 
also averse to doing anything to injure the composi- 
tors, having once been a member of the craft. At the 
same time he said to his son George, " If you find this 
to be a likely machine let me know. Of course we 
must go with the age. If I had not started the steam 
press when I did, where should we have been now ?" 
On the whole, the composing machine, though ingen- 
ious, was incomplete, and did not come into use at that 
time, nor indeed for a long time after. Still, the idea 
had been born, and, like other inventions, became 
eventually developed into a useful working machine. 
Composing machines are now in use in many printing- 
offices, and the present Clowes' firm possesses several 
of them. Those in The Times newspaper office are 
perhaps the most perfect of all. 

Mr. Clowes was necessarily a man of great ability, 
industry, and energy. Whatever could be done in 
printing, that he would do. He would never admit 
the force of any difficulty that might be suggested to 
his plans. When he found a person ready to offer ob- 

21 G William Clowes. 

jcctions, lu would say, "Ah ! I see you are a 
makcr : you will never do for inc." 

Mr. Clowes died in 1847, at the age of sixty-eight. 
There still remain a few who can recall to mind the 
giant figure, the kindly countenance, and the gentle 
bearing of this "Prince of Printers," as he was styled 
by the members of his craft. His life was full of hard 
and useful work ; and it will probably be admitted 
that, as the greatest multiplier of books in his day, 
and as one of the most effective practical laborers in 
the diffusion of useful knowledge, his name is entitled 
to be permanently associated, not only with the indus- 
trial, but also with the intellectual development of our 



"I beg you to occupy yourself in collecting biographical notices 
respecting the Italians who have honestly enriched themselves in 
other regions, particularly referring to the obstacles of their previous 
life, and to the efforts and the means which they employed for van- 
quishing them, as well as to the advantages which they secured for 
themselves, for the countries in which they settled, and for the country 
to which they owed their birth. GENERAL MENAIJREA : Circular to 
Italian Consuls. 

WHEN Count Menabrea was prime-minister of Italy, 
he caused a despatch to be prepared and issued to 
Italian consuls in all parts of the world, inviting them 
to collect and forward to him " biographical notices 
respecting the Italians who have honorably advanced 
themselves in foreign countries." 


His object, in issuing the despatch, was to collect 
information as to the lives of his compatriots living 
abroad, in order to bring out a book similar to " Self- 
Help," the examples cited in which were to be drawn 
exclusively from the lives of Italian citizens. Such a 
work, he intimated, " if it were once circulated among 
the masses, could not fail to excite their emulation and 
encourage them to follow the examples therein set 
forth," while " in the course of time it might exercise 
a powerful influence on the increased greatness of our 

We are informed by Count Menabrea that, although 
no special work has been published from the biograph- 


21 S Charles Bianconi. 

ical notices collected in answer to Lis de'spatch, yrt the " Volere k Potere" ("Will is Power") of Pro- 
iV>sor Lessona, issued a few years ago, suilicicntly 
answers the purpose which he contemplated, and fur- 
nishes many examples of the patient industry and un- 
tiring perseverance of Italians in all parts of the world. 
Many important illustrations of life and character are 
necessarily omitted from Professor Lessona's interest- 
ing work. Among these may be mentioned the sub- 
ject of the following pages a distinguished Italian 
who entirely corresponds to Count Menabrea's descrip- 
tion one who, in the face of the greatest difficulties, 
raised himself to an eminent public position, at the 
same time that he conferred the greatest benefits upon 
the country in which he settled and carried on his in- 
dustrial operations. We mean Charles Bianconi, and 
his establishment of the great system of car commu- 
nication throughout Ireland.* 


Charles Bianconi was born in 1786, at the village of 
Tregolo, situated in the Lombard Highlands of La 
Brianza, about ten miles from Como. The last eleva- 
tions of the Alps disappear in the district ; and the 
great plain of Lombardy extends towards the south. 
The region is known for its richness and beauty ; the 
inhabitants being celebrated for the cultivation of the 
mulberry and the rearing of the silk-worm, the finest 
silk in Lombardy being produced in the neighborhood. 
Indeed, Bianconi's family, like most of the villagers, 
maintained themselves by the silk culture. 

Charles had three brothers and one sister. When 
of a sufficient age, he was sent to school. The Abbe 

* This article originally appeared in "Good Words." A biogra- 
phy of Charles Bianconi, by his daughter, Mrs. Morgan John O'Con- 
n ell, has since been published ; but the above article is thought worthy 
of republication, as its contents were for the most part taken princi- 
pally from Mr. Bianconi's own lips. 

Leaves Home for England. 219 

Radical! had turned out some good scholars ; but with 
Charles Bianconi his failure was complete. The new 
pupil proved a tremendous dunce. He was very wild, 
very bold, and very plucky ; but he learned next to 
nothing. Learning took as little effect upon him as 
pouring water upon a duck's back. Accordingly, when 
he left school at the asje of sixteen, he was almost as 

O * 

ignorant as when he had entered it ; and a great deal 
more wilful. 

Young Bianconi had now arrived at the age at which 
he was expected to do something for his own mainte- 
nance. His father wished to throw him upon his own 
resources; and as he would soon be subject to the con- 
scription, he thought of sending him to some foreign 
country in order to avoid the forced service. Young 
fellows, who had any love of labor or promptings of 
independence in them, were then accustomed to leave 
home and carry on their occupations abroad. It was 
a common practice for workmen in the neighborhood 
of Como to emigrate to England and carry on various 
trades; more particularly the manufacture and sale of 
barometers, looking-glasses, images, prints, pictures, and 
other articles. 

Accordingly, Bianconi's father arranged with one 
Andrea Faroni to take the young man to England and 
instruct him in the trade of print-selling. Bianconi 
was to be Faroni's apprentice for eighteen months ; 
and in the event of his not liking the occupation, he 
was to be placed under the care of Colnaghi, a friend 
of his father's, who was then making considerable 
progress as a print-seller in London, and who after- 
wards succeeded in achieving a considerable fortune 
and reputation. 

Bianconi made his preparations for leaving home. 
A little festive entertainment was given at a little inn 
in Corno, at which the whole family were present. It 

220 Charles JlianconL 

was ;t sad thing for Bianconi'fl mother to take leave of 
IK r hoy, wild though he was. On the occasion of this 
parting ceremony, she fainted outright, at which the 
young fellow thought that things were assuming a 
very serious aspect. As he finally left the family home 
at Tregolo, the last words his mother said to him were 
these words which he never forgot: "When you re- 
member me, think of me as waiting at this window, 
watching for your return." 
Besides Charles Bianconi, Faroni took three other 

bovs under his chame. One was the son of a small 

v ~ 

village innkeeper, another the son of a tailor, and the 
third the son of a flax -dealer. This party, under 
charge of the padre, ascended the Alps by the Val San 
Giacomo road. From the summit of the pass they saw 
the plains of Lombardy stretching away in the blue dis- 
tance. They soon crossed the Swiss frontier, and then 
Bianconi found himself finally separated from home. 
He now felt that, without further help from friends or 
relatives, he had his own way to make in the world. 


The party of travellers duly reached England; but 
Faroni, without stopping in London at all, took them 
over to Ireland at once. Thev reached Dublin in the 


summer of 1802, and lodged in Temple Bar, near Es- 
sex Bridge. It was some little time before Faroni 


could send out the boys to sell pictures. First he had 
the leaden frames to cast ; then they had to be trimmed 
and colored; and then the pictures mostly of sacred 
subjects, or of public characters had to be mounted. 
The flowers, which were of wax, had also to be pre- 
pared and finished, ready for sale to the passers-by. 

When Bianconi went into the streets of Dublin to 
sell his mounted prints, he could not speak a word of 
English. He could only say "Buy, buy!" Everybody 
spoke to him an unknown tongue. When asked the 
price, he could only indicate by his fingers the number 

Travels through Ireland. 221 

of pence he wanted for his goods. At length he learned 
a little English at least sufficient "for the road;" and 
then he was sent into the country to sell his merchan- 
dise. He was despatched every Monday morning with 
about forty shillings' worth of stock, and ordered to 
return home on Saturdays, or as much sooner as he 
liked, if he had sold all the pictures. The only money 
his master allowed him at starting was fourpence. 
When Bianconi remonstrated at the smallness of the 
amount, Faroni answered, " While you have goods you 
have money; make haste to sell your goods!" 

During his apprenticeship, Bianconi learned much 
of the country through which he travelled. He was 
constantly making acquaintances with new people, and 
visiting new places. At Waterford he did a good 
trade in small prints. Besides the Scripture pieces, he 
sold portraits of the royal family, as well as of Bona- 
parte and his most distinguished generals. "Bony 5 
was the dread of all magistrates, especially in Ireland. 
At Passage, near Waterford, Bianconi was arrested 

o / * 

for having sold a leaden-framed picture of the famous 
French emperor. He was thrown into a cold guard- 
room, and spent the night there without bed or fire 
or food. Next morning he was discharged by the 
magistrate, but cautioned that he must not sell any 
more of such pictures. 

Many things struck Bianconi in making his first 
journeys through Ireland. He was astonished at the 
dram-drinking of the men, and the pipe-smoking of 
the women. The violent faction -fights which took 
place at the fairs which he frequented were of a kind 
which he had never before observed among the pacific 
people of North Italy. These faction-fights were the 
result, partly of dram-drinking, and partly of the fight- 
ing mania which then prevailed in Ireland. There 
were also numbers of crippled and deformed beggars 

222 Charles Bianconi. 

in every town quarrelling and fighting in the streets 
rows and drinkinga at wakes gambling, duelling, 
and riotous living among all classes of the people 
things which could not but strike any ordinary ob- 
server at the time, but which have now, for the most 
part, happily passed away. 

At the end of eighteen months, Bianconi's appren- 
ticeship was out; and Faroni then offered to take him 
back to his father, in compliance with the original 
understanding:. But Bianconi had no wish to return 


to Italy. Faroni then made over to him the money 
he had retained on his account, and Bianconi set up 
business for himself. He was now about eighteen 
years old ; he was strong and healthy, and able to 
walk with a heavy load on his back from twenty to 
thirty miles a day. He bought a large case, filled it 
with colored prints and other articles, and started 
from Dublin on a tour through the south of Ireland. 
He succeeded, like most persons who labor diligently. 
The curly-haired Italian lad became a general favorite. 
He took his native politeness with him everywhere; 
and made many friends among his various customers 
throughout the country. 

Bianconi used to say that it was about this time 
when he was carrying his heavy case upon his back, 
weighing at least a hundred pounds that the idea 
began to strike him, of some cheap method of convey- 
ance being established for the accommodation of the 
poorer classes in Ireland. As he dismantled himself 
of his case of pictures, and sat wearied and resting on 
the milestones along the road, he puzzled his mind with 
the thought, " Why should poor people walk and toil, 
and rich people ride and take their ease ? Could not 
some method be devised by which poor people also 
might have the opportunity of travelling comfort- 
ably ?" 

Settles at CarricJc-on-&uir. 223 

It will thus be seen that Bianconi was already be- 
ginning to think about the matter. When asked, not 
long before his death, how it was that he had first 
thought of starting his extensive car establishment, he 
answered, "It grew out of my back!" It was the hun- 
dredweight of pictures on his dorsal muscles that stim- 
ulated his thinking faculties. But the time for start- 
ing his great experiment had not yet arrived. 

Bianconi wandered about from town to town for 
nearly two years. The picture -case became heavier 
than ever. For a time he replaced it with a portfolio 
of unframed prints. Then he became tired of the 
wandering life, and in 1806 settled down at Carrick- 
on-Suir as a print-seller and carver and gilder. He 
supplied himself with gold-leaf from Waterford, to 
which town he used to proceed by Tom Morrissey's 
boat. Although the distance by road between the 
towns was only twelve miles, it was about twenty-four 
by water, in consequence of the windings of the river 
Suir. Besides, the boat could only go when the state 
of the tide permitted. Time was of little consequence; 
and it often took half a day to make the journey. In 
the course of one of his voyages, Bianconi got himself 
so thoroughly soaked by rain and mud that he caught 
a severe cold, which ran into pleurisy, and laid him up 
for about two months. He was carefully attended to 
by a good, kind physician, Dr. White, who would not 
take a penny for his medicine and nursing. 

Business did not prove very prosperous at Carrick- 
on-Suir; the town was small, and the trade was not 
very brisk. Accordingly, Bianconi resolved, after a 
year's ineffectual trial, to remove to Waterford, a more 
thriving centre of operations. He was now twenty- 
one years old. He began again as a carver and gilder; 
and as business flowed in upon him, he worked very 
hard, sometimes from six in the morning until two 

22-1 Charles Bianconi. 

hours after midnight. As usual, he made uiauv friends. 


Among the best of them was Kdward Rice, the founder 
of the "Christian Brothers" in Ireland. Kd\vard Kin- 
was a true hem- fact or to his country, lie devoted him- 


self to the work of education, long before the National 
Schools were established; investing the whole of his 
means in the foundation and management of this no- 
ble institution. 

Mr. Rice's advice and instruction set and kept Bian- 
coni in the right road. He helped the young foreign- 
er to learn English. Bianconi was no longer a dunce. 

o o * 

as he had been at school; but a keen, active, enter- 
prising fellow, eager to make his way in the Avorld. 
Mr. Rice encouraged him to be sedulous and indus- 
trious, urged him to carefulness and sobriety, and 
strengthened his religious impressions. The help and 
friendship of this good man, operating upon the mind 
and soul of a young man, whose habits of conduct and 
whose moral and religious character were only in 
course of formation, could not fail to exercise, as Bian- 
coni always acknowledged they did, a most powerful 
influence upon the whole of his after-life. 

Although "three removes" are said to be "as bad 
as a fire," Bianconi, after remaining about two years 
at AVaterford, made a third removal in 1809, to Clon- 
mel, in the county of Tipperary. Clonmel is the centre 
of a large corn trade, and is in water communication, 
by the Suir, with Carrick and WaterforcL Bianconi. 
therefore, merely extended his connection ; and still 
continued his dealings with his customers in the other 
towns. He made himself more proficient in the me- 
chanical part of his business; and aimed at being the 
first carver and gilder in the trade. Besides, he had 
always an eye open for new business. At that time, 
when the war was raging with France, gold was at a 
premium. The guinea was worth about twenty-six or 

Tickling a Horse. 225 

twenty-seven shillings. Bianconi therefore began to 
buy up the hoarded guineas of the peasantry. The 
loyalists became alarmed at his proceedings, and began 
to circulate the report that Bianconi, the foreigner, 
was buying up bullion to send secretly to Bonaparte ! 
The country people, however, parted with their guineas 
readily; for they had no particular hatred of "Bony," 
but rather admired him. 

Bianconi's conduct was of course quite loyal in the 
matter; he merely bought the guineas as a matter of 
business, and sold them at a profit to the bankers. 

The country people had a difficulty in pronouncing 
his name. His shop was at the corner of Johnson 
Street, and instead of Bianconi, he came to be called 
"Bian of the Corner." He was afterwards known as 

Bianconi soon became w r ell known after his business 
was established. He became a proficient in the carving 
and gilding line, and .was looked upon as a thriving 
man. He began to employ assistants in his trade, and 
had three German gilders at work. "While they were 
working in the shop he would travel about the coun- 
try, taking orders and delivering goods sometimes 
walking and sometimes driving. 

He still retained a little of his old friskiness and 
spirit of mischief. He was once driving a car from 
Clonmel to Thurles; he had with him a large looking- 
glass with a gilt frame, on which about a fortnight's 
labor had been bestowed. In a fit of exuberant hu- 
mor he began to tickle the horse under his tail with a 
straw ! In an instant the animal reared and plunged, 
and then set off at a gallop down hill. The result 
was, that the car was dashed to bits and the looking- 
glass broken into a thousand atoms ! 

On another occasion, a man was carrying to Cashel 
on his back one of Bianconi's large looking-glasses. 


226 Charles Bia/nconi. 

An old woman by the wayside, seeing the odd-looking, 
unwieldy package, asked what it was; on which Bian- 
coni, who was close behind the man carrying the glass, 
answered that it was " the llepeal of the Union!" 
The old woman's delight was unbounded. She knelt 
down on her knees in the middle of the road, as if it 
had been a picture of the Madonna, and thanked God 
for having preserved her in her old age to see the Re- 
peal of the Union ! 

But this little waywardness did not last long. Bi- 
anconi's wild oats were soon all sown. He was care- 
ful and frugal. As he afterwards used to say, " When 
I was earning a shilling a day at Clonmel, I lived upon 
eightpence." He even took lodgers, to relieve him of 
the charge of his household expenses. But as his 
means grew, he was soon able to have a conveyance 
of his own. He first started a yellow gig, in which he 
drove about from place to place, and was everywhere 
treated with kindness and hospitality. He was now 
regarded as "respectable," and as a person worthy to 
hold some local office. He was elected to a Society for 
Visiting the Sick Poor, and became a member of the 
House of Industry. He might have gone on in the 
same business, winning his way to the mayoralty of 
Clonmel, which he afterwards held ; but that the old 
idea, which had first sprung up in his mind while rest- 
ing wearily on the milestones along the road, with his 
heavy case of pictures by his side, again laid hold of 
him, and he determined now to try whether his plan 
could not be carried into effect. 

He had often lamented the fatigue that poor people 
had to undergo in travelling with burdens from place 
to place upon foot, and wondered whether some means 
might not be devised for alleviating their sufferings. 
Other people would have suggested "the govern- 
ment !" Why should not the government give us 

Need of Conveyances. 227 

this, that, and the other give us roads, harbors, car- 
riages, boats, nets, and so on. This, of course, would 
have been a mistaken idea ; for where people are too 
much helped, they invariably lose the beneficent prac- 
tice of helping themselves. Charles Bianconi had 
never been helped, except by advice and friendship. 
He had helped himself throughout; and now he would 
try to help others. 

The facts were patent to everybody. There was not 
an Irishman who did not know the difficulty of getting 
from one town to another. There were roads between 
them, but no conveyances. There was an abundance 
of horses in the country, for at the close of the war an 
unusual number of horses, bred for the army, were 
thrown upon the market. Then a tax had been levied 
upon carriages, which sent a large number of jaunting- 
cars out of employment. 

The roads of Ireland were on the whole good, being 
at that time quite equal, if not superior, to most of 
those in England. The facts of the abundant horses, 
the good roads, the number of unemployed outside 
cars, were generally known ; but until Bianconi took 
the enterprise in hand, there was no person of thought, 
or spirit, or capital in the country, who put these three 
things together horses, roads, and cars and dreamed 
of remedying a great public inconvenience. 

It was left for our young Italian carver and gilder, 
a struggling man of small capital, to take up the en- 
terprise, and show what could be done by prudent ac- 
tion and persevering energy. Though the car system 
originally " grew out of his back," Bianconi had long 
been turning the subject over in his mind. His idea 
was, that we should never despise small interests, nor 
neglect the wants of poor people. He saw the mail- 
coaches supplying the requirements of the rich, and 
enabling them to travel rapidly from place to place. 

228 Charles Bianconi. 

"Then," said he to himself, "would it not he possible 
for me to make an ordinary two-wheeled car pay, by 
running as regularly for the accommodation of poor 
districts and poor people?" 

When Mr. Wallace, chairman of the Select Commit- 
tee on Postage, in 1838, asked Mr. Bianconi, "What 
induced you to commence the car establishment ?" his 
answer was, " I did so from what I saw, after coming 
to this country, of the necessity for such cars, inas- 
much as there was no middle mode of conveyance, 
nothing to fill up the vacuum that existed between 
those who were obliged to walk and those who posted 
or rode. My want of knowledge of the language gave 
me plenty of time for deliberation, and in proportion 
as I grew up with the knowledge of the language and 
the localities, this vacuum pressed very heavily upon 
my mind, till at last I hit upon the idea of running 
jaunting-cars, and for that purpose I commenced run- 
ning one between Clonmel and Cahir." * 

What a happy thing it was for Bianconi and Ireland 
that he could not speak with facility that he did not 
know the language or the manners of the country ! 
In his case silence was " golden." Had he been able 
to talk like the people about him, he might have said 
much and done little attempted nothing and conse- 
quently achieved nothing. ' He might have got up a 
meeting and petitioned Parliament to provide the cars, 
and subvention the car system; or he might have gone 
among his personal friends, asked them to help him, 
and failing their help, given up his idea in despair, and 
sat down grumbling at the people and the govern- 

But instead of talking, he proceeded to doing, there- 

* "Minutes of Evidence taken before the Select Committee on 
Postage" (Second Report), 1838, p. 284. 

The First Venture. 229 

by illustrating Lessona's maxim of Volere e potere,. 
After thinking the subject fully over, he trusted to 
self-help. He found that with his own means, care- 
fully saved, he could make a beginning ; and the be- 
ginning once made, included the successful ending. 

The beginning, it is true, was very small. It was 
only an ordinary jaunting-car, drawn by a single horse, 
capable of accommodating six persons. The first car 
ran between Clonmel and Cahir, a distance of about 
twelve miles, on the 5th of July, 1815 a memorable 
day for Bianconi and Ireland. Up to that time the 
public accommodation for passengers was confined to 
a few mail and day coaches on the great lines of road, 
the fares by which were very high, and quite beyond 
the reach of the poorer or middle-class people. 

People did not know what to make of Bianconi's car 
when it first started. There were, of course, the usual 
prophets of disaster, who decided that it " would never 
do." Many thought that no one would pay eighteen- 
pence for going to Cahir by car when they could walk 
there for nothing ? There were others who thought 
that Bianconi should have stuck to his shop, as there 
was no connection whatever between picture-gilding 
and car-driving ! 

The truth is, the enterprise at first threatened to be 
a failure ! Scarcely anybody would go by the car. 
People preferred trudging on foot, and saved their 
money, which was more valuable to them than time. 
The car sometimes ran for weeks without a passenger. 
Another man would have given up the enterprise in 
despair. But this was not the way with Bianconi. 
He was a man of tenacity and perseverance. What 
should he do but start an opposition car? Nobody 
knew of it but himself ; not even the driver of that 
opposition car. However, the rival car was started. 
The races between the car-drivers, the free lifts occa- 

230 Charles Bianconi. 

sionally given to passengers, the cheapness of the fare, 
and the excitement of the contest, attracted the atten- 
tion of the public. The people took sides, and before 
long both cars came in full. Fortunately the "great 
big yallali horse " of the opposition car broke down, 
and Bianconi had all the trade to himself. 

The people became accustomed to travelling. They 
might still walk to Cahir; but going by car saved their 
legs, saved their brains, and saved their time. They 
might go to Cahir market, do their business there, and 
be comfortably back within the day. Bianconi then 
thought of extending the car to Tipperary and Limer- 
ick. In the course of the same year, 1815, he started 
another car between Clomnel, Cashel, and Thurles. 
Thus all the principal towns of Tipperary were, in the 
first year of the undertaking, connected together by 
car, besides being also connected with Limerick. 

It was easy to understand the convenience of the 
car system to business men, farmers, and even peas- 
ants. Before their establishment, it took a man a 
whole day to walk from Thurles to Clonmel, the sec- 
ond day to do his business, and the third to walk back 
again; whereas he could, in one day, travel backwards 
and forwards between the two towns, and have five or 
six intermediate hours for the purpose of doing his 
business. Thus two clear days could be saved. 

Still carrying out his scheme, Bianconi, in the fol- 
lowing year (1816) put on a car from Clonmel to Wa- 
terford. Before that time there was no car accom- 
modation between Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir, about 
half-way to Waterford ; but there w r as an accommo- 
dation by boat between Carrick and Waterford. The 
distance between the two latter places was, by road, 
twelve miles, and by the river Suir twenty-four miles. 
Tom Morrissey's boat plied two days a week ; it car- 
ried from eight to ten passengers at \d. of the then 

The Car Shop. 231 

currency; it did the voyage in from four to five hours, 
and besides had to wait for the tide to float it up and 
down the river. When Bianconi's car was put on, it 
did the distance daily and regularly in two hours, at a 
fare of 2s. 

The people soon got accustomed to the convenience 
of the cars. They also learned from them the uses of 
punctuality and the value of time. They liked the 
open - air travelling and the sidelong motion. The 
new cars were also safe and well-appointed. They 
were drawn by good horses and driven by good coach- 
men. Jaunting-car travelling had before been rattier 
unsafe. The country cars were of a ramshackle order, 
and the drivers were often reckless. " Will I pay the 
pike, or drive at it, plaise your honor ?" said a driver 
to his passenger on approaching a turnpike-gate. Sam 
Lover used to tell a story of a car-driver, who, after 
driving his passenger up-hill and down-hill, along a very 
bad road, asked him for something extra at the end of 
his journey. " Faith," said the driver, "it's not put- 
ting me off with this ye'd be, if ye knew but all." 
The gentleman gave him another shilling. " And now 
what do you mean by saying, ' if ye knew but all ?' : 
" That I druv yer honor the last three miles widout a 
lynch-pin /" 

Bianconi, to make sure of the soundness and safety 
of his cars, set up a workshop to build them for him- 
self. He could thus depend upon their soundness, 
down even to the lynch-pin itself. He kept on his 
carving and gilding shop until his car business had in- 
creased so much that it required the whole of his time 
and attention; and then he gave it up. In fact, when 
he was able to run a car from Clonmel to Waterford 
a distance of thirty-two miles at a fare of three- 
and-sixpence, his eventual triumph was secure. 

He made Waterford one of the centres of his opera- 

232 Charles Bianconi. 

tions, as he had already made Clonmcl. In 1818 he 
established a car between Waterford and Ross, in the 
following year a car between Waterford and Wexford, 
and another between Waterford and Enniscorthy. A 
few years later he established other cars between Wa- 
terford and Kilkenny, and Waterford and Dungarvan. 
From these farthest points, again, other cars were es- 
tablished in communication with them, carrying the 
line farther north, east, and west. So much had the 
travelling between Clonmel and Waterford increased, 
that in a few years (instead of the eight or ten passen- 
gers conveyed by Tom Morrissey's boat on the Suir) 
there was horse and car power capable of conveying a 
hundred passengers daily between the two places. 

Bianconi did a great stroke of business at the Wa- 
terford election of 1826. Indeed, it was the turning- 
point of his fortunes. He was at first greatly cramped 
for capital. The expense of maintaining and increas- 
ing his stock of cars, and of foddering his horses was 
very great ; and he was always on the lookout for 
more capital. When the Waterford election took 
place, the Beresford party, then all-powerful, engaged 
all his cars to drive the electors to the poll. The pop- 
ular party, however, started a candidate, and applied 
to Bianconi for help. But he could not comply, for 
his cars were all engaged. The morning after this ap- 
plication was refused, Bianconi was pelted with mud. 
One or two of his cars and horses were heaved over 
the bridge. 

Bianconi then wrote to Beresford's agent, stating 
that he could no longer risk the lives of his drivers 


and his horses, and desiring to be released from his en- 
gagement. The Beresford party had no desire to en- 
danger the lives of the car-drivers or their horses, and 
they set Bianconi free. He then engaged with the 
popular party, and enabled them to win the election. 

His Marriage. 233 

For this he was paid the sum of a thousand pounds. 
This access of capital was greatly helpful to him 
under the circumstances. He was able to command 
the market, both for horses and fodder. He was 
also placed in a position to extend the area of his car 

He now found time, amid his numerous vocations, 
to get married. He was forty years of age before this 
event occurred. He married Eliza Hayes, some twenty 
years younger than himself, the daughter of Patrick 
Hayes, of Dublin, and of Henrietta Burton, an English- 
woman. The marriage was celebrated on the 14th of 
February, 1827, and the ceremony was performed by 
the late Archbishop Murray. Mr. Bianconi must now 
have been in good circumstances, as he settled two 
thousand pounds upon his wife on their marriage-day. 
His early married life was divided between his cars, 
electioneering, and Repeal agitation for he was al- 
ways a great ally of O'Connell. Though he joined in 
the Repeal movement, his sympathies were not with 
it; for he preferred Imperial to Home Rule. But he 
could never deny himself the pleasure of following 
O'Connell, " right or wrong." 

Let us give a picture of Bianconi now. The curly- 
haired Italian boy had grown a handsome man. His 
black locks curled all over his head, like those of an 
ancient Roman statue. His face was full of power, 
his chin was firm, his nose was finely cut and well- 
formed; his eyes were keen and sparkling, as if throw- 
ing out a challenge to fortune. He was active, ener- 
getic, healthy, and strong, spending his time mostly in 
the open air. He had a wonderful recollection of faces, 
and rarely forgot to recognize the countenance that he 
had once seen. He even knew all his horses by name. 
He spent little of his time at home, but was con- 
stantly rushing about the country after business, ex- 

Charles Bianconi. 

tending his connections, organizing his staff, and ar- 

^j * d* ^j j 

ranging the centres of his traffic. 

O O 

To return to the car arrangements. A line was early 
opened from Clonmel which was at first the centre of 
the entire connection to Cork; and that line was ex- 
tended northward, through Mallow and Limerick. 
Then the Limerick car went on to Tralee, and from 
thence to Cahirciveen, on the southwest coast of Ire- 
land. The cars were also extended northward from 
Thurles to Roscrea, Ballinasloe, Athlone, Roscommon, 
and Sligo, and to all the principal towns in the north- 
west counties of Ireland. 

The cars interlaced with each other, and plied, not 
so much in continuous main lines, as across country, 
so as to bring all important towns, but especially the 
market-towns, into regular daily communication with 
each other. Thus, in the course of about thirty years, 
Bianconi succeeded in establishing a system of internal 
communication in Ireland, which traversed the main 
highways and cross-roads from town to town, and gave 
the public a regular and safe car accommodation at 
the average rate of a penny-farthing per mile. 

The traffic in all directions steadily increased. The 
first car used was capable of accommodating only six 
persons. This was between Clonmel and Cahir. But 
when it went on to Limerick, a larger car was required. 
The traffic between Clonmel and Waterford was also 
begun with a small-sized car. But in the course of a 
few years there were four large-sized cars, travelling 
daily each way, between the two places. And so it 
was in other directions, between Cork in the south, 
and Sligo and Strabane in the north and northwest, 
between Wexford in the east, and Galway and Skib- 
bereen in the west and southwest. 

Bianconi first increased the accommodation of these 
cars so as to carry four persons on each side instead 

Names of the Cars. 235 

of three, drawn by two horses. But as the two horses 
could quite as easily carry two additional passengers, 
another piece was added to the car so as to carry five 
passengers on each side. Then another four-wheeled 
car was built, drawn by three horses, so as to carry six 
passengers on each side. And lastly, a fourth horse 
was used, and the car was further enlarged, so as to 
accommodate seven, and eventually eight passengers 
on each side, with one on the box, which made a total 
accommodation for seventeen passengers. The largest 
and heaviest of the long cars, on four wheels, was 
called "Finn MacCoul," after Ossian's Giant; the 
fast cars, of a light build, on two wheels, were called 
" Faugh-a-ballagh," or "clear the way;" while the in- 
termediate cars were named "Massey Dawsons," after 
a popular Tory squire. 

When Bianconi's system was complete, he had about 
a hundred vehicles at work; a hundred and forty sta- 
tions for changing horses, where from one to eight 
grooms were employed ; about a hundred drivers, thir- 
teen hundred horses, performing an average distance 
of three thousand eight hundred miles daily; passing 
through twenty-three counties, and visiting no fewer 
than a hundred and twenty of the principal towns and 
cities in the south and west and midland counties of 
Ireland. Bianconi's horses consumed on an average 


from three to four thousand tons of hay yearly, and 
from thirty to forty thousand barrels of oats, all of 
which were purchased in the respective localities in 
which they were grown. 

Bianconi's cars or " The Bians " soon became very 
popular. Everybody was under obligations to them. 
They greatly promoted the improvement of the coun- 
try. People could go to market and buy or sell their 
goods more advantageously. It was cheaper for them 
to ride than to walk. They brought the whole people 

236 Charles Bianconi. 

of the country so much nearer to each other. They 
virtually opened up about seven tenths of Ireland to 
civilization and commerce, and among their other ad- 
vantages, they opened markets for the fresh fish caught 
by the fishermen of Gahvay, Clifden, TVestport, and 
other places, enabling them to be sold throughout the 
country on the day after they were caught. They 
also opened the magnificent scenery of Ireland to tour- 
ists, and enabled them to visit Bantry Bay, Killarney, 
South Donegal, and the wilds of Connemara in safety, 
all the year round. 

Bianconi's service to the public was so great, and it 
was done with so much tact, that nobody had a word 
to say against him. Everybody was his friend. Not 
even the Whiteboys would injure him or the mails he 
carried. He could say with pride, that in the most dis- 
turbed times his cars had never been molested. Even 
during the Whiteboy insurrection, though hundreds of 
people were on the roads at night, the traffic went on 
without interference. At the meeting of the British 
Association in 1857, Bianconi said : "My conveyances, 
many of them carrying very important mails, have 
been travelling during all hours of the day and night, 
often in lonely and unfrequented places ; and during 
the long period of forty-two years that my establish- 
ment has been in existence, the slightest injury has 
never been done by the people to my property, or that 
intrusted to my care ; and this fact gives me greater 
pleasure than any pride I might feel in reflecting upon 
the other rewards of my life's labor." 

Of course Bianconi's cars were found of great use 
for carrying the mails. The post was, at the begin- 
ning of his enterprise, very badly served in Ireland, 
chiefly by foot and horse posts. When the first car 
was run from Clonniel to Cahir, Bianconi offered to 
carry the mail for half the price then paid for " send- 

Bianconi and the Post-office. 237 

ing it alternately by a mule and a bad horse." The 
post was afterwards found to come regularly instead 
of irregularly to Cahir ; and the practice of sending 
the mails by Bianconi's cars increased from year to 
year. Despatch won its way to popularity in Ireland 
as elsewhere, and Bianconi lived to see all the cross- 
posts in Ireland arranged on his system. 

The postage authorities frequently iised the cars of 
Bianconi as a means of competing with the few exist- 
ing mail - coaches. For instance, they asked him to 
compete for carrying the post between Limerick and 
Tralee, then carried by a mail-coach. Before tender- 
ing, Bianconi called on the contractor, to induce him 
to give in to the requirements of the post-office, be- 
cause he knew that the postal authorities only desired 
to make use of him to fight the coach proprietors. 
But having been informed that it was the intention 
of the post - office to discontinue the mail - coach 
whether Bianconi took the contract or not, he at 
length sent in his tender, and obtained the contract. 

He succeeded in performing the service, and deliv- 
ered the mail much earlier than it had been done be- 
fore. But the former contractor, hnding that he had 
made a mistake, got up a movement in favor of re-es- 
tablishing the mail-coach upon that line of road; and 
he eventually induced the postage authorities to take 
the mail contract out of the hands of Bianconi, and 
give it back to himself, as formerly. Bianconi, how- 
ever, continued to keep his cars upon the road. He 
had before stated to the contractor that, if he once 
started his cars, he would not leave it, even though 
the contract were taken from him. Both coach and 
car, therefore, ran for years upon the road, each los- 
ing thousands of pounds. " But," said Bianconi, when 
asked about the matter by the Committee on Postage, 
in 1838, "I kept my word; I must either lose charac- 

238 . Charles Bianconi. 

ter by breaking my word, or lose money. I prefer 
losing money to giving up the line of road." 

Bianconi bad, also, other competitors to contend 
with, especially from coach and car proprietors. No 
sooner had he shown to others the way to fortune than 
he had plenty of imitators. But they did not possess 
his rare genius for organization, nor perhaps his still 
rarer principles. They had not his tact, his foresight, 
his knowledge, nor his perseverance. When Bianconi 
was asked by the Select Committee on Postage, "Do 
the opposition cars started against you induce you to 
reduce your fares?" his answer was, "No; I seldom 
do. Our fares are so close to the first cost that, if any 
man runs cheaper than I do, he must starve off, as few 
can serve the public lower and better than I do."* 

Bianconi was once present at a meeting of car pro- 
prietors, called for the purpose of uniting to put down 
a new opposition coach. Bianconi would not concur, 
but protested against it, saying, " If car proprietors had 
united against me when I started, I should have been 

O * 

crushed. But is not the country big enough for us all ?" 
The coach proprietors, after many angry words, threat- 
ened to unite in running down Bianconi himself. " Very 
well," he said, "you may run me off the road that is 
possible; but while there is this " (pulling a flower out 
of his coat) " you will not put me down." The threat 
merely ended in smoke, the courage and perseverance 
of Bianconi having long since become generally recog- 

We have spoken of the principles of Mr. Bianconi. 
They were most honorable. His establishment might 
be spoken of as a school of morality. In the first place, 
he practically taught and enforced the virtues of punc- 
tuality, truthfulness, sobriety, and honesty. He also 

* Evidence before the Select Committee on Postage, 1838. 

Promotion by Merit. 239 

taught the public generally the value of time, to which, 
in fact, his own success was in a great measure due. 
While passing through Clonmel, in 1840, Mr. and Mrs. 
S. C. Hall called upon Bianconi, and went over his es- 
tablishment, as well as over his house and farm, a short 
distance from the town. The travellers had a very 
pressing engagement, and could not stay to hear the 
storv of how their entertainer had contrived to " make 


so much out of so little." " How much time have 
you?" he asked. "Just five minutes." "The car," 
says Mr. Hall, "had conveyed us to the back entrance. 
Bianconi instantly rang the bell, and said to the ser- 
vant, ( Tell the driver to bring the car round to the 
front,' ' adding, " that will save one minute, and ena- 
ble me to tell you all within the time." This was, in 
truth, the secret of his success, making the most of 
time." * 

But the success of Bianconi was also due to the ad- 
mirable principles on which his establishment was con- 
ducted. His drivers were noted as being among the 
most civil and obliging men in Ireland, besides being 
pleasant companions to boot. They were careful, 
punctual, truthful, and honest; but all this was the 
result of strict discipline on the part of their master. 

The drivers were taken from the lowest grades of 
the establishment, and promoted to higher positions 
according to their respective merits, as opportunity 
offered. " Much surprise," says Bianconi, " has often 
been expressed at the high order of men connected 
with my car establishment, and at its popularity; but 
parties thus expressing themselves forget to look at 
Irish society with sufficient grasp. For my part, I 
cannot better compare it than to a man merging to 
convalescence from a serious attack of malignant fe- 

* Hull's " Ireland," vol. ii. p. 7G. 

240 Charles Bianconi. 

YIT, and requiring generous nutrition in place of med- 
ical treatment." * 

To attach the men to the system, as well as to confer 
upon them the due reward for their labor, he provided 
for all the workmen who had been injured, worn out, 
or become superannuated in his service. The drivers 
could then retire upon a full pension, which they en- 
joyed during the rest of their lives. They were also 
paid their full wages during sickness, and at their 
death Bianconi educated their children, who grew up 
to manhood, and afterwards filled the situations held 
by their deceased parents. 

Every workman had thus a special interest in his 
own good conduct. They knew that nothing but mis- 
behavior could deprive them of the benefits they en- 
joyed; and hence their endeavors to maintain their 
positions by observing the strict discipline enjoined 
by their employer. 

Sobriety was, of course, indispensable ; a drunken 
car-driver being among the most dangerous of ser- 
vants. The drivers must also be truthful, and the man 
found telling a lie, however venial, was instantly dis- 
missed. Honesty was also strongly enforced, not only 
for the sake of the public, but for the sake of the men 
themselves. Hence he never allowed his men to carry 
letters. If they did so, he fined them in the first in- 
stance very severely, and in the second instance dis- 
missed them. " I do so," he said, " because, if I do not 
respect other institutions (the post-office), my men will 
soon learn not to respect my own. Then, for carry- 
ing letters during the extent of their trip, the men 
most probably would not get money, but drink, and 
hence become dissipated and unworthy of confidence." 

Thus truth, accuracy, punctuality, sobriety, and hon- 

t Paper read before the British Association at Cork, 1843. 

Sunday Traffic. 241 

esty, being strictly enforced, formed the fundamen- 
tal principle of the entire management. At the same 
time, Bianconi treated his drivers with every confi- 
dence and respect. He made them feel that, in doing 
their work well, they conferred a greater benefit on 
him and on the public than he did on them by paying 
them their wages. 

When attending the British Association, at Cork, 
Bianconi said that, " in proportion as he advanced his 
drivers, he lowered their wages." "Then," said Dr. 
Taylor, the secretary, "I wouldn't like to serve you." 
"Yes, you would," replied Bianconi, "because, in pro- 
moting my drivers, I place them on a more lucrative 
line, where their certainty of receiving fees from pas- 
sengers is greater." 

Bianconi was as merciful to his horses as to his men. 
He had much greater difficulty at first in finding good 
men than good horses, because the latter were not ex- 
posed to the temptations to which the former w r ere 
subject. Although the price of horses continued to 
rise, he nevertheless bought the best horses at in- 
creased prices, and he took care not to work them 
overmuch. He gave his horses, as well as his men, 
their seventh day's rest. "I find by experience," he 
said, "that I can work a horse eight miles a day for 
six days in the week easier than I can work six miles 
for seven days; and that is one of my reasons for hav- 
ing no cars, unless carrying a mail, plying upon Sun- 

Bianconi had confidence in men generally. The 
result was that men had confidence in him. Even the 
Whiteboys respected him. At the close of a long and 
useful life he could say with truth, " I never yet at- 
tempted to do an act of generosity or common justice, 
publicly or privately, that I was not met by manifold 


24:2 Charles Bianconi. 

ly bringing the various classes of society into con- 
nection with each other, Bianconi believed, and doubt- 
less with truth, that he was the means of ranking them 
ropect each otlier, and that he thereby promoted the 
civilization of Ireland. At the meeting of the Social 
Science Congress, held at Dublin, in 18G1, he said: 
" The state of the roads was such as to limit the rate 
of travelling to about seven miles an hour, and the 
passengers were often obliged to walk up hills. Thus 
all classes were brought together, and I have felt much 
pleasure in believing that the intercourse thus created 
tended to inspire the higher classes with respect and 
regard for the natural good qualities of the humbler 
people, which the latter reciprocated by' a becoming 
deference and an anxiety to please and oblige. Such 
a moral benefit appears to me to be worthy of special 
notice and congratulation." 

Even when railways were introduced, Bianconi did 
not resist them, but welcomed them as " the great civ- 
ilizers of the age." There was, in his opinion, room 
enough for all methods of conveyance in Ireland. 
When Captain Thomas Drummond was appointed 
Under-secretary for Ireland, in 1835, and afterwards 
chairman of the Irish Railway Commission, he had 
often occasion to confer with Mr. Bianconi, who gave 
him every assistance. Mr. Drummond conceived the 
greatest respect for Biancoui, and often asked him how 
it was that he, a foreigner, should have acquired so 
extensive an influence and so distinguished a position 
in Ireland. 

"The question came upon me," said Bianconi, "by 
surprise, and I did not at the time answer it. But 
another day he repeated his question, and I replied, 
'Well, it was because, wliile the big and the little were 
fighting, I crept lip between them, carried out my en- 
, and obliged everybody S " This, however, did 

Mr. DrummoncPs Testimony. 243 

not satisfy Mr. Drummond, who asked Bianconi to 
write down for him an autobiography, containing the 
incidents of his early life down to the period of his 
great Irish enterprise. Bianconi proceeded to do this, 
writing down his past history in the occasional inter- 
vals which he could snatch from the immense business 
which he still continued personally to superintend. 
But before the "Drummond Memoir" could be fin- 
ished, Mr. Drummond himself had ceased to live, hav- 
ing died in 1840, principally of overwork. What he 
thought of Bianconi, however, has been preserved in 
his "Report of the Irish Railway Commission of 1838," 
written by Mr. Drummond himself, in which he thus 
speaks of his enterprising friend in starting and con- 
ducting the great Irish car establishment: 

" With a capital little exceeding the expense of out- 
fit he commenced. Fortune, or, rather, the due reward 
of industry and integrity, favored his first efforts. He 
soon began to increase the number of his cars and mul- 
tiply routes, until his establishment spread over the 
whole of Ireland. These results are the more striking 
and instructive as having been accomplished in a dis- 
trict which has long been represented as the focus of 
unreclaimed violence and barbarism, where neither life 
nor property can be deemed secure. While many pos- 
sessing a personal interest in everything tending to 
improve or enrich the country have been so misled or 
inconsiderate as to repel, by exaggerated statements, 
British capital from their doors, this foreigner chose 
Tipperary as the centre of his operations, wherein to 
embark all the fruits of his industry in a traffic pecul- 
iarly exposed to the power, and even to the caprice, of 
the peasantry. The event has shown that his confi- 
dence in their good sense was not ill-grounded. 

"By a system of steady and just treatment he has 
obtained a complete mastery, exempt from lawless in- 

244 Charles Bianconi. 

timidation or control, over the various servants and 
agents employed by him, and his establishment is pop- 
ular with all classes, on account of its general useful- 
ness and the fair, liberal spirit of its management. 
The success achieved by this spirited gentleman is the 
result, not of a single speculation, which might have 
been favored by local circumstances, but of a series 
of distinct experiments, all of which have been suc- 

When the railways were actually made and opened, 
they ran right through the centre of Bianconi's long- 
established systems of communication. They broke 
up his lines, and sent them to the right and left. But, 
though they greatly disturbed him, they did not de- 
stroy him. In his enterprising hands the railways 
merely changed the direction of the cars. lie had at 
first to take about a thousand horses off the road, with 
thirty-seven vehicles, travelling two thousand four hun- 
dred and forty-six miles daily. But he remodelled his 
system so as to run his cars between the railway sta- 
tions and the towns to the right and left of the main 

He also directed his attention to those parts of Ire- 
land which had not before had the benefit of his con- 
veyances. And in thus still continuing to accommo- 
date the public, the number of his horses and carriages 
again increased, until, in 1861, he was employing nine 
hundred horses, travelling over four thousand miles 
daily; and in 1866, when he resigned his business, he 
was running only six hundred and eighty-four miles 
daily below the maximum run in 1845, before the rail- 
ways had begun to interfere with his traffic. 

His cars were then running to Dungarvan, Water- 
ford, and Wexford in the southwest of Ireland ; to 
Bandon, Rosscarbery, Skibbereen, and Cahirciveen in 
the south ; to Tralee, Gal way, Clifden, Westport, and 

The Cars and Railways. 245 

Belmullet in the west; to Sligo, Enniskillen, Strabane, 
and Letterkenny in the north; while, in the centre of 
Ireland, the towns of Thurles, Kilkenny, Birr, and Bal- 
linasloe were also daily served by the cars of Bian- 

At the meeting of the British Association, held in 
Dublin, in 1857, Mr. Bianconi mentioned a fact which, 
he thought, illustrated the increasing prosperity of the 
country and the progress of the people. It was that, 
although the population had so considerably decreased 
by emigration and other causes, the proportion of trav- 
ellers by his conveyances continued to increase, de- 
monstrating not only that the people had more money, 
but that they appreciated the money value of time, and 
also the advantages of the car system established for 
their accommodation. 

Although railways must necessarily have done much 
to promote the prosperity of Ireland, it is very doubt- 
ful whether the general passenger public were not bet- 
ter served by the cars of Bianconi than by the railways 
which superseded them. Bianconi's cars were, on the 
whole, cheaper, and were always run en correspondence, 
so as to meet each other; whereas many of the railway 
trains in the south of Ireland, under the competitive 
system existing between the several companies, are 
often run so as to miss each other. The present work- 
ing of the Irish railway traffic provokes perpetual irri- 
tation among the Irish people, and sufficiently accounts 
for the frequent petitions presented to Parliament 
that they should be taken in hand and worked by the 

Bianconi continued to superintend his great car es- 
tablishment until within the last few years. He had 
a constitution of iron, which he expended in active 
daily work. He liked to have a dozen irons in the fire, 
all red-hot at once. At the age of seventy he was still 

246 Charles Bianconi. 

a man in his prime; and he might be seen at Clonmel 
helping, at busy times, to load the cars, unpacking 
and unstrapping the luggage where it seemed to be 
inconveniently placed; for he was a man who could 
never stand by and see others working without having 
a hand in it himself. Even when well on to eighty, 
he still continued to grapple with the immense busi- 
ness involved in working a traffic extending over two 
thousand five hundred miles of road. 

Nor was Bianconi without honor in his adopted coun- 
try. He began his great enterprise in 1815, though 
it was not until 1831 that he obtained letters of nat- 
uralization. His application for these privileges was 
supported by the magistrates of Tipperary and by the 
Grand Jury, and they were at once granted. In 1844 
he was elected Mayor of Clonmel, and took his seat as 
chairman at the Borough Petty Sessions to dispense 

The first person brought before him was James 
Ryan, who had been drunk, and torn a constable's 
belt. " Well, Ryan," said the magistrate, " what 
have you to say?" "Nothing, your worship; only I 
wasn't drunk." " Who tore the constable's belt ?" 
" He was bloated after his Christmas dinner, your 
worship, and the belt burst!" "You are so very 
pleasant," said the magistrate, " that you will have to 
spend forty-eight hours in jail." 

He was re-elected mayor in the following year, very 
much against his wish. He now began to buy land, 
for "land hunger" was strong upon him. In 1846 he 
bought the estate of Longfield, in the parish of Boher- 
lahan, county of Tipperary. It consisted of about a 
thousand acres of good land, with a large, cheerful 
house overlooking the River Suir. He went on buy- 
ing more land, until he became possessor of about 
eight thousand English acres. 

Relations with O* Connell. 247 

One of his favorite sayings was, " Money melts, but 
land holds while grass grows and water runs." He 
was an excellent landlord, built comfortable houses 
for his tenantry, and did what he could for their im- 
provement. Without solicitation, the government ap- 
pointed him a justice of the peace and a deputy-lieu- 
tenant for the county of Tipperary. Everything that 
he did seemed to thrive. He was honest, straightfor- 
ward, loyal, and law-abiding. 

On first taking possession of his estate at Longfield, 
he was met by a procession of the tenantry, who re- 
ceived him with great enthusiasm. In his address to 
them, he said, among other things, " Allow me to im- 
press upon you the great importance of respecting the 
laws. The laws are made for the good and the benefit 
of society, and for the punishment of the wicked. No 
one but an enemy would counsel you to outrage the 
laws. Above all things, avoid secret and unlawful 

O ' 

societies. Much of the improvement now going on 
among us is owing to the temperate habits of the peo- 
ple, to the mission of my much respected friend, Fa- 
ther Mathew, and to the advice of the Liberator. Fol- 
low the advice of O'Connell ; be temperate, moral, 
peaceable; and you will advance your country, amel- 
iorate your condition, and the blessing of God will at- 
tend all your efforts." 

Bianconi was always a great friend of O'Connell. 
From an early period he joined him in the Catholic 
Emancipation movement. He took part with him in 
founding the National Bank in Ireland. In course of 


time the two became more intimately related. Bian- 
coni's son married O'Connell's granddaughter, and 
O'Connell's -nephew, Morgan John, married Bianco- 
ni's daughter. Bianconi's son died in 1864, leaving 
three daughters, but no male heir to carry on the fam- 
ily name. The old man bore the blow of his son's 

24:8 Charles Hianconi. 

premature death with fortitude, and laid his remains 
in the mortuary chapel which he built on his estate at 


In the following year, when he was seventy-eight, 
he met with a severe accident. He was overturned, 
and his thigh w r as severely fractured. He was laid up 
for six months, quite incapable of stirring. He was 
afterwards able to get about in a marvellous way, 
though quite crippled. As his life's work w r as over, 
he determined to retire finally from business, and he 
handed over the whole of his cars, coaches, horses, and 
plant, with all the lines of road he was then working, 
to his employees, on the most liberal terms. 

My youngest son met Mr. Bianconi, by appoint- 
ment, at the Roman Catholic church at Boherlahan, 
in the summer of 1872. Although the old gentleman 
had to be lifted into and out of his carriage by his two 
men-servants, he was still as active-minded as ever. 
Close to the church at Boherlahan is Bianconi's mortu- 
ary chapel, which he built as a sort of hobby, for the 
last resting-place of himself and his family. The first 
person interred in it was his eldest daughter, who died 
in Italy; the second was his only son. A beautiful 
monument, with a bas-relief, has been erected in the 
chapel by Benzoni, an Italian sculptor, to the memory 
of his daughter. 

" As we were leaving the chapel," my son informs 
me, "we passed a long Irish car containing about six- 
teen people, the tenants of Mr. Bianconi, who are 
brought at his expense from all parts of the estate. 
He is very popular with his tenantry, regarding their 
interests as his own; and he often quotes the words of 
his friend Mr. Drummond, that ' property has its du- 
ties as well as its rights.' He has rebuilt nearly every 
house on his extensive estates in Tipperary. 

" On our way home the carriage stopped to let me 

His Conversation. 219 

down and see the strange remains of an ancient fort, 
close by the roadside. It consists of a high grass- 
grown mound, surrounded by a moat. It is one of the 
so-called Danish forts, which are found in all parts of 
Ireland. If it be true that these forts were erected by 
the Danes, they must at one time have had a strong 
hold of the greater part of Ireland. 

" The carriage entered a noble avenue of trees, with 
views of prettily enclosed gardens on either side. 
Mr. Bianconi exclaimed, ' Welcome to the Carman's 
Stage!' Longfield House, which we approached, is 
a fine old-fashioned house, situated on the river Suir, 
a few miles south of Cashel, one of the most ancient 
cities in Ireland. Mr. Bianconi and his family were 
most hospitable ; and I found him most lively and 
communicative. He talked cleverly and with excel- 
lent choice of language for about three hours, during 
which I learned much from him. 

" Like most men who have accomplished great things, 
and overcome many difficulties, Mr. Bianconi is fond 
of referring to the past events in his interesting life. 
The acuteness of his conversation is wonderful. He 
hits off a keen thought in a few words, sometimes full 

O ' 

of wit and humor. I thought this very good: 'Keep 
before the wheels, young man, or they will run over 
you: always keep before the wheels!' He read over 
to me the memoir he had prepared at the suggestion 
of Mr. Drummond, relating to the events of his early 
life; and this opened the way for a great many other 
recollections not set down in the book. 

"He vividly remembered the parting from his 
mother, nearly seventy years ago, and spoke of her 
last words to him. 'When you remember me, think 
of me as waiting at this window, watching for your 
return.' This led him to speak of the great forgetful- 
ness and want of respect which children have for their 


250 Charles Bianconi. 

parents nowadays. ' We seem,' he said, * to have fallen 
upon a disrespectful age.' 

" * It is strange,' said he, ' how little things influence 
one's mind and character. When I was a boy at 
Waterford, I bought an old second-hand book from 
a man on the quay, and the maxim on its title-page 
fixed itself deeply on my memory. It was, "Truth, 
like water, will find its own level." And this led 
him to speak of the great influence which the example 
and instruction of Mr. Rice, of the Christian Brothers, 
had had upon his mind and character. 'That religious 
institution,' said he, ' of which Mr. Rice was one of the 
founders, has now spread itself over the country, and, 
by means of the instruction which the members have 
imparted to the poorer ignorant classes, they have ef- 
fected quite a revolution in the south of Ireland.' 

"'I am not much of a reader,' said' Mr. Bianconi; 
* the best part of my reading has consisted in reading 
way-bills. But I was once complimented by Justice 
Lefroy upon my books. He remarked to me what a 
wonderful education I must have had to invent my 
own system of book-keeping. Yes,' said he, pointing 
to his ledgers, ( there they are.' The books are still 
preserved, recording the progress of the great car en- 
terprise. They show at first the small beginnings, and 
then the rapid growth the tens growing to hundreds, 
and the hundreds to thousands the ledgers and day- 
books containing, as it were, the whole history of the 
undertaking of each car, of each man, of each horse, 
and of each line of road, recorded most minutely. 

" ( The secret of my success,' said he, ' has been 
promptitude, fair dealing, and good humor. And this 
I will add, what I have often said before, that I never 
did a kind action but it was returned to me tenfold. 
My cars have never received the slightest injury from 
the people. Though travelling through the country 

BianconVs Death. 251 

for about sixty years, the people have throughout re- 
spected the property intrusted to me. My cars have 
passed through lonely and unfrequented places, and 
they have never, even in the most disturbed times, 
been attacked. That, I think, is an extraordinary 
testimony to the high moral character of the Irish 

" ( It is not money, but the genius of money that I 
esteem,' said Bianconi; 'not money itself, but money 
used as a creative power.' And he himself has fur- 
nished in his own life the best possible illustration of 
his maxim. He has created a new industry, given em- 
ployment to an immense number of persons, promoted 
commerce, extended civilization ; and, though a for- 
eigner, has proved one of the greatest of Ireland's ben- 

About two years after the date of my son's visit, 
Charles Bianconi passed away, full of years and hon- 
ors; and his remains are laid beside those of his son 
and daughter, in the mortuary chapel at Boherlahan. 
He died in 1875, in his ninetieth year. Well might 
Signor Henrico Mayer say, at the British Association 
at Cork in 1846, that "he felt proud, as an Italian, to 
hear a compatriot so deservedly eulogized ; and al- 
though Ireland might claim Bianconi as a citizen, yet 
the Italians should ever with pride hail him as a coun- 
tryman, whose industry and virtue reflected honor on 
the country of his birth." 



" The Irish people have a past to boast of, and a future to create." 


" One of the great questions is how to find an outlet for Irish man- 
ufactures. \Ve ought to be an exporting nation, or we never will be 
able to compete successfully with our trade rivals." E. D. GRAY. 

" Ireland may become a Nation again, if we all sacrifice our parri- 
cidal passions, prejudices, and resentments on the altar of our coun- 
try. Then shall your manufactures flourish, and Ireland be free." 

I SPENT a portion of my last summer holiday in Ire- 
land. I had seen the south of Ireland, and the roman- 
tic scenery of Cork and Kerry, more than once; and 
now I desired to visit the coast of Galway and the 
highland scenery of Connemara. On communieating 
my intentions to a young Italian gentleman Count 
Giuseppe Zoppola he expressed a desire to accom- 
pany me; but he must first communicate with his fa- 
ther at Nigoline, near Brescia. The answer he re- 
ceived was unsatisfactory. "If you go to Ireland," 
said his father, "you will be shot." "Nonsense!" I 
replied, when the message was communicated to me; 
"I have children and grandchildren in Ireland, and 
they are as safe there as in any part of England." 

It is certainly unfortunate for Ireland that the in- 
telligence published regarding it is usually of an alarm- 
ing character. Little is said of " the trivial round, the 
common task" of the great body of working people, 

True Condition of Ireland. 253 

of which the population of Ireland, as well as of the 
United Kingdom, mainly consists. But if an excep- 
tional outrage occurs, it is spread by the press over the 
civilized world, not only at home, but abroad. This 
has the effect of checking, not only the influx of cap- 
ital into Ireland, which is the true Wages Fund for 
the employment of labor, but it tends to propagate 
the idea that Ireland, with its majestic scenery, is an 
unsafe country to travel in; whereas the fact is that, 
apart from the crimes arising out of agrarianism, there 
is less theft, less cheating, less house-breaking, less rob- 
bery of all kinds there, than in any country of the 
same size in the civilized world. I have travelled in 
the remotest parts of Ireland by the magnificent 
scenery round Bantry Bay in the southwest, and along 
the wild coast scenery of Donegal in the northwest 
and invariably found the peasantry kind, civil, and 

Further communications passed between my young 
friend, the Italian count, and his father; and the result 
was that he accompanied me to Ireland, on the express 
understanding that he was to send home a letter daily 
by post assuring his friends of his safety. "We went 
together accordingly to Galway, up Lough Corrib to 
Cong and Lough Mask, by the romantic lakes and 
mountains of Connemara to Clifden and Letterfrack, 
and through the lovely pass of Kylemoor to Leenane; 
along the fiord of Killury; then on, by Westport and 
Ballina to Sligo. Letters were posted daily by my 
young friend ; and every day we went forward in 

But how lonely was the country ! We did not meet 
a single American tourist during the whole course of 
our visit, and the Americans are the most travelling 
people in the world. Although the railway companies 
have given every facility for visiting Connemara and 

25-i Industry in Ireland. 

the scenery of the west of Ireland, we only met one 
single English tourist, accompanied by his daughter. 
The Bianconi long-car between Clifden and "Westport 
had been taken off for want of support. The only per- 
sons who seemed to have no fear of Irish agrarianism 
were the English fishermen, who are ready to brave 
all dangers, imaginary or supposed, provided they can 
only kill a big salmon ! And all the rivers flowing 
westward into the Atlantic are full of fine fish. While 
at Galwav, we looked down into the river Comb from 

/ 7 

the Upper Bridge, and beheld it literally black with 
the backs of salmon ! Tliev were waiting for a flood 


to enable them to ascend the ladder into Lough Cor- 
rib. While there, nineteen hundred salmon were taken 
in one day by nets in the bay. 

Galway is a declining town. It has docks, but no 
shipping ; bonded warehouses, but no commerce. It 
has a community of fishermen at Claddagh, but the 
fisheries of the bay are neglected. As one of the poor 
men of the place exclaimed, "Poverty is the curse of 
Ireland." On looking at Galway from the Claddagh 
side, it seems as if to have suffered from a bombard- 
ment. Where a roof has fallen in, nothing has been 
done to repair it. It was of no use. The ruin has 
been left to go on. The mills, which used to grind 
home-grown corn, are now unemployed. The corn 
comes ready ground from America. Nothing is thought 
of but emigration, and the best people are going, leav- 
ing the old, the weak, and the ineflacient at home. 
" The laborer," said the late President Garfield, " has 
but one commodity to sell his day's work. It is his 
sole reliance. He must sell it to-day, or it is lost for- 
ever." And as the poor Irishman cannot sell his day's 
labor, he must needs emigrate to some other country, 
where his only commodity may be in demand. 

While at Galway, I read with interest an eloquent 

Irish Manufactures. 255 

speech delivered by Mr. Parnell at the banquet held 
in the great hall of the exhibition at Cork. Mr. Par- 
nell asked, with much reason, why manufactures should 
not be established and encouraged in the south of Ire- 


land, as in other parts of the country. Why should 
not capital be invested, and factories and workshops 
developed, through the length and breadth of the king- 
dom ? "I confess," he said, " I should like to give 
Ireland a fair opportunity of working her home manu- 
factures. We can each one of us do much to revive 
the ancient name of our nation in those industrial pur- 
suits which have done so much to increase and render 
glorious those greater nations by the side of which we 
live. I trust that before many years are over we shall 
have the honor and pleasure of meeting in even a more 
splendid palace than this, and of seeing in the interval 
that the quick-witted genius of the Irish race has prof- 
ited by the lessons w^hich this beautiful exhibition must 
undoubtedly teach, and that much will have been done 
to make our nation happy, prosperous, and free." 

Mr. Parnell, in the course of his speech, referred to 
the manufactures which had at one time flourished in 
Ireland to the flannels of Rathdrum, the linens of 
Bandon, the cottons of Cork, and the gloves of Limer- 
ick. Why should not these things exist again ? " We 
have a people who are by nature quick and facile to 
learn, who have shown in many other countries that 
they are industrious and laborious, and who have not 
been excelled whether in the pursuits of agriculture 
under a midday sun in the field, or among the vast 
looms in the factory districts by the people of any 
country on the face of the globe." * Most just and 
eloquent ! 

The only weak point in Mr. Parnell's speech was 

* Report in the Cork Examiner, 5th July, 1883. 

256 Industry in Ireland. 

where be urged bis audience "not to use any article of 
tbe manufacture of any other country except Ireland, 
where you can get up an Irish manufacture." The 
true remedy is to make Irish articles of the best and 
cheapest, and they will be bought, not only by the 
Irish, but by the English and people of all nations. 
Manufactures cannot be "boycotted." They will find 
their way into all lands, in spite even of the most re- 
strictive tariffs. Take, for instance, the case of Bel- 
fast hereafter to be referred to. If the manufactur- 
ing population of that town were to rely for their 
maintenance on the demand for their productions at 
home, they would simply starve. But they make the 
best and the cheapest goods of their kind, and hence 
the demand for them is world-wide. 

There is an abundant scope for the employment of 
capital and skilled labor in Ireland. During the last 
few years land has been falling rapidly out of culti- 
vation. The area under cereal crops has accordingly 
considerably decreased.* Since 1868, not less than 
four hundred thousand acres have been disused for 
this purpose.f Wheat can be bought better and 
cheaper in America, and imported into Ireland ground 
into flour. The consequence is, that the men who 
worked the soil, as well as the men who ground the 
corn, are thrown out of employment, and there is noth- 
ing left for them but subsistence upon the poor-rates, 
emigration to other countries, or employment in some 
new domestic industry. 

* In 1883, as compared with 1882, there was a decrease of fifty-eight 
thousand and twenty-two acres in the land devoted to the growth of 
wheat; there was a total decrease of one hundred and fourteen thou- 
sand eight hundred and seventy-one acres in the land under tillage. 
" Agricultural Statistics, Ireland," 1883. "Parliamentary Keturn," 
c. 37G8. 

t " Statistical Abstract for the United Kingdom," 1883. , 

Ban~k Deposits. 257 

Ireland is by no means the " poor Ireland " that she 
is commonly supposed to be. The last returns of the 
postmaster-general show that she is growing in wealth. 
Irish thrift has been steadily at work during the last 
twenty years. Since the establishment of the Post- 
office Savings Banks, in 1861, the deposits have annu- 
ally increased in value. At the end of 1882, more 
than two millions sterling had been deposited in these 
banks, and every county participated in the increase.* 
The largest accumulations were in the counties of 
Dublin, Antrim, Cork, Down, Tipperary, and Tyrone, 
in the order named. Besides this amount, the sum of 
2,082,413 was due to depositors in the ordinary sav- 
ings banks on the 20th of November, 1882; or, in all, 
more than four millions sterling, the deposits of small 
capitalists. At Cork, at the end of last year, it was 
found that the total deposits made in the savings bank 
Lad been 76,000, or an increase of 6675 over the 
preceding twelve months. But this is not all. The 
Irish middle classes are accustomed to deposit most of 
their savings in the Joint Stock banks; and from the 
returns presented to the lord-lieutenant, dated the 31st 
of January, 1883, we find that these had been more 
than doubled in twenty years, the deposits and cash 
balances having increased from 14,389,000 at the end 
of 1862, to 32,746,000 at the end of 1882. During the 
last year they had increased by the sum of 2,585,000. 
"So large an increase in bank deposits and cash bal- 
ances," says the Report, " is highly satisfactory." It 
may be added that the investments in government and 

* The particulars are these : deposits in Irish Post-office Savings 
Banks, 31st December, 1882, 1,925,440; to the credit of depositors 
and Government stock, 125,000 ; together, 2,050,440. The increase 
of deposits over those made in the preceding year, were : in Dublin, 
31,321; in Antrim, 23,328; in Tyrone, 21,315; in Cork, 
17,034; and in Down, 10,382. 

258 Industry in Ireland. 

India stock, on which dividends were paid in the Bank 
of Ireland, at the end of 1882, amounted to not less 
than 31,804,000. 

It is proper that Ireland should be bountiful with 
her increasing means. It has been stated that during 
the last eighteen years her people have contributed 
not less than six millions sterling for the purpose of 
building places of worship, convents, schools, and col- 
leges, in connection with the Roman Catholic Church, 
not to speak of their contributions for other patriotic 

It would be equally proper if some of the saved sur- 
plus capital of Ireland, as suggested by Mr. Parnell, 
were invested in the establishment of Irish manufac- 
tures. This would not only give profitable occupation 
to the unemployed, but enable Ireland to become an 
increasingly exporting nation. "NVe are informed by 
an Irish banker, that there is abundance of money to 
be got in Ireland for any industry which has a reason- 
able chance of success. One thing, however, is certain: 
there must be perfect safety. An old writer has said 
that " Government is a badge of lost innocence : the 
palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bow- 
ers of paradise." The main use of government is pro- 
tection against the weaknesses and selfishness of hu- 
man nature. If there be no protection for life, liberty, 
property, and the fruits of accumulated industry, gov- 
ernment becomes comparatively useless, and society is 
driven back upon its first principles. 

Capital is the most sensitive of all things. It flies 
turbulence and strife, and thrives only in security and 
freedom. It must have complete safety. If tampered 
with by restrictive laws, or hampered by combinations, 
it suddenly disappears. " The age of glory of a na- 
tion," said Sir Humphry Davy, " is the age of its se- 
curity. The same dignified feeling which urges men 

Banishment of Trades. 259 

to gain a dominion over nature will preserve them 
from the dominion of slavery. Natural and moral 
and religious knowledge are of one family; and happy 
is the country and great its strength where they dwell 
together in union." 

Dublin was once celebrated for its ship-building, its 
timber-trade, its iron manufactures, and its steam print- 
ing; Limerick was celebrated for its gloves; Kilkenny 
for its blankets; Bandon for its woollen and linen man- 
ufactures. But most of these trades were banished by 
strikes.* Dr. Doyle stated before the Irish Committee 
of 1830 that the almost total extinction of the Kilken- 
ny blanket-trade was attributable to the combinations 
of the weavers ; and O'Connell admitted that trades 
unions had wrought more evil to Ireland than absen- 
teeism and Saxon maladministration. But working 
men have recently become more prudent and thrifty; 
and it is believed that under the improved system of 
moderate counsel, and arbitration between employers 
and employed, a more hopeful issue is likely to attend 
the future of such enterprises. 

Another thing is clear. A country may be levelled 
down by idleness and ignorance ; it can only be lev- 
elled up by industry and intelligence. It is easy to 
pull down; it is very difficult to build up. The hands 
that cannot erect a hovel may demolish a palace. We 
have but to look to Switzerland to see what a country 
may become which mixes its industry with its brains. 
That little land has no coal, no seaboard by which she 
can introduce it, and is shut off from other countries 
by lofty mountains, as well as by hostile tariffs ; and 
yet Switzerland is one of the most prosperous nations 

* The only thriving manufacture now in Dublin is that of intoxicat- 
ing drinks beer, porter, stout, and whiskey. Brewing and distilling 
do not require skilled labor, so that strikes do not affect them. 

2GO Industry in Ireland. 

in Europe, because governed and regulated by intelli- 
gent industry. Let Ireland look to Switzerland, and 
she need not despair. 

Ireland is a much richer country by nature than is 
generally supposed. In fact, she has not yet been 
properly explored. There is copper-ore in Wicklow, 
Waterford, and Cork. The Leitrim iron-ores are fa- 
mous for their riches; and there is good ironstone in 
Kilkenny, as well as in Ulster. The Connaught ores 
are mixed with coal-beds. Kaolin, porcelain clay, and 
coarser clay abound; but it is only at Belleek that it 
has been employed in the pottery manufacture. But 
the sea about Ireland is still less explored than the 
land. All round the Atlantic seaboard of the Irish 
coast are shoals of herring and mackerel, which might 
be food for men, but are at present only consumed by 
the multitudes of sea-birds which follow them. 

In the daily papers giving an account of the Cork 
Exhibition appeared the following paragraph : " An 
interesting exhibit will be a quantity of preserved her- 
rings from Lowestoft, caught off the old head of Kin- 
sale, and returned to Cork after undergoing a preserv- 
ing process in England." * Fish caught off the coast 
of Ireland by English fishermen, taken to England and 
cured, and then " returned to Cork" for exhibition! 
Here is an opening for patriotic Irishmen. Why not 
catch and preserve the fish at home, and get the entire 
benefit of the fish traffic ? Will it be believed that 
there is probably more money value in the seas round 
Ireland than there is in the land itself. This is actu- 
ally the case with the sea round the county of Aber- 
deen. f 

* Times, llth June, 1883. 

t The valuation of the county of Aberdeen (exclusive of the city) 
\vas recently 8GG,81G, whereas the value of the herrings (seven hun- 

The Irish Fisheries. 261 

A vast source of wealth lies at the very doors of the 
Irish people. But the harvest of an ocean teeming 
with life is allowed to pass into other hands. The 
majority of the boats which take part in the fishery at 
Kinsale are from the little island of Man, from Corn- 
wall, from France, and from Scotland. The fishermen 
catch the fish, salt them, and carry them or send them 
away. While the Irish boats are diminishing in num- 
ber, those of the strangers are increasing. In an East 

o o 

Lothian paper published in May, 1881, I find the fol- 
lowing paragraph, under the head of "Cockenzie:" 

" Departure of Boats. In the early part of this 
week, a number of the boats here have left for the 
herring - fishery at Kinsale, in Ireland. The success 
attending their labors last year at that place and at 
Howth has induced more of them than usual to pro- 
ceed thither this year." 

It may not be generally known that Cockenzie is a 
little fishing village on the Firth of Forth, in Scotland, 
where the fishermen have provided themselves, at their 
own expense, with about fifty decked fishing -boats, 
each costing, with nets and gear, about 500. With 
these boats they carry on their pursuits on the coast 
of Scotland, England, and Ireland. In 1882, they sent 
about thirty boats to Kinsale * and Howth. The prof- 

dred and forty-eight thousand seven hundred and twenty-six barrels) 
caught round the coast (at 2os. the barrel) was 935,907, thereby ex- 
ceeding the estimated annual rental of the county by G9,091. The 
Scotch fishermen catch over a million barrels of herrings annually, 
representing a value of about a million and a half sterling. 

* A recent number of Land and Water supplies the following in- 
formation as to the fishing at Kinsale : " The takes offish have been 
so enormous and unprecedented that buyers can scarcely be found, 
even when, as now, mackerel are selling at one shilling per six score. 
Piles of magnificent fish lie rotting in the sun. The sides of Kinsale 
Harbor are strewn with them, and frequently, when they have become 
a little ' touched,' whole boat-loads are thrown overboard into the wa- 

262 Industry in Ireland. 

its of their fishing has been such as to enable them, 
with the assistance of Lord AVemvss, to build for them- 


selves a convenient harbor at Port Seaton, without any 
help from the government. They find that self-help 
is the best help, and that it is absurd to look to the 
government and the public purse for what they can 
best do for themselves. 

The wealth of the ocean round Ireland has long 
been known. As long ago as the ninth and tenth cen- 
turies, the Danes established a fishery off the western 
coasts, and carried on a lucrative trade with the south 
of Europe. In Queen Mary's reign, Philip II. of Spain 
paid 1000 annually in consideration of his subjects 
being allowed to fish on the northwest coast of Ire- 
land; and it appears that the money was brought into 
the Irish Exchequer. In 1050, Sweden was permitted, 
as a favor, to employ a hundred vessels in the Irish 
fishery; and the Dutch in the reiim of Charles I. were 

*/ * 

admitted to the fisheries on the payment of 30,000. 
In 1673, Sir W. Temple, in a letter to Lord Essex, says 
that " the fishing of Ireland might prove a mine under 
water as rich as any under ground."* 

The coasts of Ireland abound in all the kinds of fish 
in common use cod, ling, haddock, hake, mackerel, 
herring, whiting, conger, turbot, brill, bream, soles, 
plaice, dories, and salmon. The banks off the coast 
of Galway are frequented by myriads of excellent 
fish ; yet, of the small quantity caught, the bulk is 

ter. This great waste is to be attributed to scarcity of bands to salt 
the fish and want of packing-boxes. Some of the boats are said to 
have made as much as 500 this season. The local fishing company 
are making active preparations for the approaching herring fishery, 
and it is anticipated that Kinsale may become one of the centres of 
this description of fishing." 

* Statistical Journal for March, 1818. Paper by Richard Valpy 
on " The Resources of the Irish Sea Fisheries," pp. 55-72. 

Importation of Fish. 263 

taken in the immediate neighborhood of the shores. 
Galway Bay is said to be the finest fishing ground in 
the world; but the fish cannot be expected to come on 
shore unsought : they must be found, followed, and 
netted. The fishing-boats from the west of Scotland 
are very successful; and they often return the fish to 
Ireland, cured, which had been taken out of the Irish 
bays. " I tested this fact in Galway," says Mr. S. C. 
Hall. " I had ordered fish for dinner ; two salt had- 
docks were brought to me. On inquiry, I ascertained 
where they were bought, and learned from the seller 
that he was the agent of a Scotch firm, whose boats 
were at that time loading in the bay." * But although 
Scotland imports some eighty thousand barrels of cured 
herrings annually into Ireland, that is not enough; for 
we find that there is a regular importation of cured her- 
rings, cod, ling, and hake, from Newfoundland and 
Nova Scotia, towards the food of the Irish peo- 


The fishing village of Claddagh, at Galway, is more 
decaying than ever. It seems to have suffered from a 
bombardment, like the rest of the town. The houses 
of the fishermen, when they fall in, are left in ruins. 
While the French and English and Scotch boats leave 
the coast laden with fish, the Claddagh men remain 
empty-handed. They will only fish on " lucky days," 
so that the Galway market is often destitute of fish, 

* Hall's " Eetrospect of a Long Life," vol. ii. p. 324. 

t The Commissioners of Irish Fisheries, in one of their reports, ob- 
serve: "Notwithstanding the diminished population, the fish captured 
round the coast is so inadequate to the wants of the population that 
fully 150,000 worth of ling, cod, and herring are annually imported 
from Norway, Newfoundland, and Scotland, the vessels bearing these 
cargoes, as they approach the shores of Ireland, frequently sailing 
through large shoals of fish of the same description as they are 
freighted with!'' 

264: Industry in Ireland. 

while the Claddagh people are starving. On one oc- 
casion an English company was formed for the pur- 
pose of fishing and curing fish at Galway, as is now 
done at Yarmouth, Grimsby, Fraserburgh, Wick, and 
other places. Operations were commenced, but as 
soon as the English fishermen put to sea in their 
boats, the Claddagh men fell upon them, and they 
were glad to escape with their lives.* Unfortunately, 
the Claddagh men have no organization, no fixed rules. 

O O ' * 

no settled determination to work, unless when pressed 

* The following examination of Mr. J. Ennis, chairman of the Mid- 
land and Great Western Railway, took place before the "Royal Com- 
mission on Railways," as long ago as the year 18-16 : 

Chairman. "Is the fish traffic of any importance to your railway ?" 

Mr. Ennis. " Of course it is, and we give it all the facilities that 
we can. . . . But the Galway fisheries, where one would expect to 
find plenty offish, are totally neglected." 

Sir Rowland Hill. "What is the reason of that ?" 

Mr. Ennis. "I will endeavor to explain. I had occasion a few 
nights ago to speak to a gentleman in the House of Commons with 
regard to an application to the Fishery Board for 2000 to restore the 
pier at Buffin, in Clew Bay, and I said, ' Will you join me in the ap- 
plication ? I am told it is a place that swarms with fish, and if we 
had a pier there the fishermen will have some security, and they will 
go out.' The only answer I received was, 'They will not go out; 
they pay no attention whatever to the fisheries ; they allow the fish to 
come and go without making any effort to catch them. ..." 

Mr. Ayrton.-^-" Do you think that if English fishermen went to the 
west coast of Ireland they would be able to get on in harmony with 
the native fishermen ?'' 

Mr. Ennis. "We know the fact to be, that some years ago a 
company was established for the purpose of trawling in Galway Bay, 
and what was the consequence? The Irish fishermen, who inhabit a 
region in the neighborhood of Galway, called Claddagh, turned out 
against them, and would not allow them to trawl, and the Englishmen 
very properly went away with their lives." 

Sir Rowland Hill. "Then they will neither fish themselves nor 
allow any one else to fish !" 

Mr. Ennis. "It seems to be so." "Minutes of Evidence," pp. 
175, 176. 

The Fishing Fleets. 265 

by necessity. The appearance of the men and of their 
cabins show that they are greatly in want of capital; 
and fishing cannot be successfully performed without 
a sufficiency of this industrial element. 

Illustrations of this neglected industry might be 
given to any extent. Herring fishing, cod fishing, and 
pilchard fishing, are unlike untouched. The Irish have 
a strong prejudice against the pilchard; they believe 
it to be an unlucky fish, and that it will rot the net 
that takes it. The Cornishmen do not think so, for 
they find the pilchard fishing to be a source of great 
wealth. The pilchards strike upon the Irish coast first 
before they reach Cornwall. When Mr. Brady, In- 
spector of Irish Fisheries, visited St. Ives a few years 
ago, he saw captured, in one seine alone, nearly ten 
thousand pounds of this fish. 

Not long since, according to a northern local paper,* 
a large, fleet of vessels in full sail were seen from the 
west coast of Donegal, evidently making for the shore. 
Many surmises were made about the unusual sight. 
Some thought it was the Fenians, others the Home 
Rulers, others the Irish- American Dynamiters. Noth- 
ing of the kind ! It was only a fleet of Scotch smacks, 
sixty-four in number, fishing for herring between Tor- 
ry Island and Horn Head. The Irish might say to the 
Scotch fishermen, in the words of the Morayshire le- 
gend, " Rejoice, O my brethren, in the gifts of the sea, 
for they enrich you without making any one else the 
poorer !" But while the Irish are overlooking their 
treasure of herring, the Scotch are carefully cultivat- 
ing it. The Irish fleet of fishing-boats fell off from 
twenty-seven thousand one hundred and forty-two in 
1823 to seven thousand one hundred and eighty-one in 
1873 ; and in 1882 they were still further reduced to 

* The Dcrry Journal. 


. - 

266 Industry in Ird<iml. 

>ix thousand and eighty - nine.* Yet Ireland has a 
coast-line of fishing ground of nearly three thousand 
miles in extent. 

The bights and bays on the west coast of Ireland- 
off Erris, Mayo, Connemara, and Donegal swarm with 
fish. Near Achill Bay, two thousand mackerel were 
lately taken at a single haul ; and Clew Bay is often 
alive with fish. In Scull Bay and Crookhaven, near 
Cape Clear, they are so plentiful that the peasants 
often knock them on the head with oars, but will not 
take the trouble to net them. These swarms of fish 
might be a source of permanent wealth. A gentleman 
of Cork one day borrowed a common rod and line from 
a Cornish miner in his employment, and caught fifty- 
seven mackerel from the jetty in Scull Bay before 
breakfast. Each of these mackerel was worth two- 
pence in Cork market, thirty miles off. Yet the peo- 
ple round about, many of whom were short of food, 
were doing nothing to catch them, but expecting Prov- 
idence to supply their wants. Providence, however, 
always likes to be helped. Some people forget that 
the Giver of all good gifts requires us to seek for them 
by industry, prudence, and perseverance.! 

* "Report of Inspectors of Irish Fisheries for 1882." 
t The "Report of the Inspectors of Irish Fisheries on the Sea and 
Inland Fisheries of Ireland for 1882" gives a large amount of infor- 
mation as to the fish which swarm round the Irish coast. Mr. Brady 
reports on the abundance of herring and other fish all round the coast. 
Shoals of herring "remained off nearly the entire coast of Ireland 
from August till December." "Large shoals of pilchards" were ob- 
served on the south and southwest coasts. Off Dingle, it is remarked, 
"the supply of all kinds offish is practically inexhaustible." "Im- 
mense shoals of herrings offLiscannor and Loop Head ;" " the mack- 
erel is always on this coast, and can be captured at any time of the 
year, weather permitting." At Belmullet, "the shoals of fish off 
the coast, particularly herring and mackerel, are sometimes enormous" 
The fishermen, though poor, are all very orderly and well conducted. 
They only want energy and industry. 

Help for Irish Fisheries. 267 

Some cry for more loans ; some cry for more har- 
bors. It would be well to help with suitable harbors, 
but the system of dependence upon government loans 
is pernicious. The Irish ought to feel that the very 
best help must come from themselves. This is the 
best method for teaching independence. Look at the 
little isle of Man. The fishermen there never ask for 
loans. They look to their nets and their boats ; they 
sail for Ireland, catch the fish, and sell them to the 
Irish people. With them industry brings capital, and 
forms the fertile seed -ground of further increase of 
boats and nets. Surely what is done by the Manxmen, 
the Cornishmen, and the Cockenziemen, might be done 
by the Irishmen. The difficulty is not to be got over 
by lamenting about it, or by staring at it, but by grap- 
pling with it, and overcoming it. It is deeds, not words, 
that are wanted. Employment for the mass of the 
people must spring from the people themselves. Pro- 
vided there is security for life and property, and an 
absence of intimidation, we believe that capital will 
become invested in the fishing industry of Ireland; and 
that the result will be peace, food, and prosperity. 

We must remember that it is only of comparatively 
late years that England and Scotland have devoted so 
much attention to the fishery of the seas surrounding 
our island. In this fact there is consolation and hope 
for Ireland. At the beginning of the seventeenth cen- 
tury Sir Walter Raleigh laid before the king his ob- 
servations concerning the trade and commerce of Eng- 
land, in which he showed that the Dutch were almost 
monopolizing the fishing-trade, and consequently add- 
ing to their shipping, commerce, and wealth. " Surely," 
he says, "the stream is necessary to be turned to the 
good of this kingdom, to whose sea-coasts alone God 
has sent us these great blessings and immense riches 
for us to take ; and that every nation should carry 

268 Iinhixii' in Ireland. 

away out of this kingdom yearly great masses of mon- 
ey for fish taken in our seas, and sold again by them 
to us, must needs be a great dishonor to our nation, 
and hinderance to this realm." 

The- Hollanders then had about fifty thousand peo- 
ple employed in fishing along the English eoast; and 
their industry and enterprise gave employment to 
about one hundred and fifty thousand more, " by sea 
and land, to make provision, to dress and transport the 
lish they take, and return commodities; whereby they 
are enabled yearly to build one thousand ships and ves- 
sels." The prosperity of Amsterdam was then so great 
that it was said that Amsterdam was "founded on her- 
ring-bones." Tobias Gentleman published in 1614 his 
treatise on "England's Way to Win Wealth, and to 
Employ Ships and Marines," * in which he urged the 
English people to vie with the Dutch in fishing the 
seas, and thereby to give abundant employment, as 
well as abundant food, to the poorer people of the 


"Look," he said, "on these fellows that we call the 
plump Hollanders ; behold their diligence in fishing, 
and our own careless negligence !" The Dutch not 

O O 

only fished along the coasts near Yarmouth, but their 
fishing vessels went north as far as the coasts of Shet- 
land. What roused Mr. Gentleman's indignation the 
most was, that the Dutchmen caught the fish and sold 
them to the Yarmouth herring - mongers "for ready 
gold, so that it amounteth to a great sum of money, 
which money doth never come again into England." 
" We are daily scorned," he says, " by these Holland- 
ers, for being so negligent of our Profit, and careless 
of our Fishing; and they do daily flout us that be the 
poor Fishermen of England, to our Faces at Sea, call- 

* " The Harleian Miscellany," vol. iii. pp. 378-391. 

Enterprise of the Dutch. 269 

ing to us, and saying, ' Ya English, ya sail or oud scoue 
dragien? which, in English, is this, ' You English, we 
will make you glad to wear our old shoes !' 

Another pamphlet, to a similar effect, "The Royal 
Fishing Revived,"* was published fifty years later, in 
which it was set forward that the Dutch "have not 
only gained to themselves almost the sole fishing in 
his Majesty's Seas; but principally upon this Account 
have very near beat us out of all our other most prof- 
itable Trades in all Parts of the World." It was even 
proposed to compel " all Sorts of begging Persons and 
all other poor People, all People condemned for less 
Crimes than Blood," as well as " all Persons in Prison 
for Debt," to take part in this fishing trade! But this 
was not the true way to force the traffic. The her- 
ring fishery at Yarmouth and along the coast began to 
make gradual progress with the growth of wealth and 
enterprise throughout the country, though it was not 
until 1787 less than a hundred years ago that the 
Yarmouth men began the deep-sea herring fishery. 
Before then the fishing was all carried on alon^ shore 

O O 

in little cobles, almost within sight of land. The native 
fishery also extended northward, along the east coast 
of Scotland and the Orkney and Shetland Isles, until 
now the herring fishery of Scotland forms one of the 
greatest industries in the United Kingdom, and gives 
employment, directly or indirectly, to close upon half 
a million of people, or to one seventh of the whole 
population of Scotland. 

Taking these facts into consideration, therefore, 
there is no reason to despair of seeing, before many 
years have elapsed, a large development of the fishing 
industry of Ireland. We may yet see Galway the 
Yarmouth, Achill the Grirnsby, and Killybegs the 

* "The Harleian Miscellany," vol. iii. p. 392. 

'JTO Industry in Ireland. 

Wick of the West. Modern society in Ireland, as ev- 
erywhere else, can only be transformed through the 
agency of labor, industry, and commerce inspired by 
the spirit of work, and maintained by the accumula- 
tions of capital. The first end of all labor is security 
-security to person, possession, and property, so that 
all may enjoy in peace the fruits of their industry. 
For no liberty, no freedom, can really exist which 
does not include the first liberty of all the right of 
public and private safety. 

To show what energy and industry can do in Ire- 
land, it is only necessary to point to Belfast, one of 
the most prosperous and enterprising towns in the 
British Islands. The land is the same, the climate is 
the same, and the laws are the same, as those which 
prevail in other parts of Ireland. Belfast is the great 
centre of Irish manufactures and commerce, and what 
she has been able to do might be done elsewhere, with 
the same amount of energy and enterprise. But it is 
not the land, the climate, and the laws that we want. 
It is the men to lead and direct, and the men to follow 
with anxious and persevering industry. It is always 
the Man society wants. 

The influence of Belfast extends far out into the 
country. As you approach it from Sligo, you begin 
to see that you are nearing a place where industry has 
accumulated capital, and where it has been invested in 
cultivating and beautifying the land. After you pass 
Enniskillen, the fields become more highly cultivated. 
The drill-rows are more regular; the hedges are clipped; 
the weeds no longer hide the crops, as they sometimes 
do in the far west. The country is also adorned with 
copses, woods, and avenues. A new crop begins to 
appear in the fields a crop almost peculiar to the 
neighborhood of Belfast. It is a plant with a very 
slender, erect, green stem, which, when full-grown, 

The Linen Manufacture. 271 

branches at the top into a loose corymb of blue flow- 
ers. This is the flax-plant, the cultivation and prepa- 
ration of which gives employment to a large number 
of people, and is to a large extent the foundation of 
the prosperity of Belfast. 

The first appearance of the linen industry of Ire- 
land, as we approach Belfast from the west, is ob- 
served at Portadown. Its position on the Bann, with 
its water-power, has enabled this town, as well as the 
other places on the river, to secure and maintain their 
due share in the linen manufacture. Factories, with 
their long chimneys, begin to appear. The fields are 
richly cultivated, and a general air of well-being per- 
vades the district. Lurgan is reached, so celebrated 
for its diapers, and the fields thereabout are used as 
bleaching-greens. Then comes Lisburn, a populous 
and thriving town, the inhabitants of which are mostly 
engaged in their staple trade, the manufacture of dam- 
asks. This was, reallv, the first centre of the linen 

*> f 

trade. Though Lord Straff ord, during his govern- 
ment of Ireland, encouraged the flax industry by send- 
ing to Holland for flax-seed, and inviting Flemish and 
French artisans to settle in Ireland, it was not until 
the Huguenots, who had been banished from France 
by the persecutions of Louis XIV., settled in Ireland 
in such large numbers that the manufacture became 
firmly established. The Crommelins, the Goyers, and 
the Dupres were the real founders of this great branch 
of industry.* 

* See "The Huguenots in England and Ireland." A Board of 
Traders, for the encouragement and promotion of the hemp and flax 
manufacture in Ireland, was appointed by an act of Parliament at 
the beginning of last century (Gth of October, 1711), and the year 
after the appointment of the board the following notice was placed on 
the records of the institution : "Louis Crommelin and the Huguenot 
colony have been greatly instrumental in improving and propagating 

Industry in Ireland. 

As the traveller approaches Belfast, groups of houses, 
factories, and works of various kinds, appear closer and 
closer; long chimneys over boilers and steam-engines, 
and brick buildings three and four stories high; large 
yards full of workmen, carts, and lorries; and at length 
we are landed in the midst of a large manufacturing 

~ o 

town. As we enter the streets, everybody seems to be 
alive. What struck William Hutton, when he first saw 
Birmingham, might be said of Belfast : " I was sur- 
prised at the place, but more at the people. They 
possessed a vivacity I had never before beheld. I had 
been among dreamers, but now I saw men awake. 
Their very step along the street showed alacrity, 
Every man seemed to know what he was about. The 
town was large, and full of inhabitants, and these in- 
habitants full of industry. The faces of other men 
seemed tinctured with an idle gloom, but here with a 
pleasing alertness. Their appearance was strongly 
marked with the modes of civil life." 

Some people do not like manufacturing towns: they 
prefer old castles and ruins. They will find plenty of 
these in other parts of Ireland. But to found indus- 

the flaxen manufacture in the north of this Kingdom, and the perfec- 
tion to which the same is brought in that part of the country has been 
greatly owing to the skill and industry of the said Crommelin." In 
a history of the linen trade, published at Belfast, it is said that "the 
dignity which that enterprising man imparted to labor, and the halo 
which his example cast around physical exertion, had the best effect in 
raising the tone of popular feeling, as well among the patricians as 
among the peasants of the north of Ireland. This love of industry 
did much to break down the national prejudice in favor of idleness, 
and cast doubts on the social orthodoxy of the idea then so popular 
with the squirearchy, that those alone who were able to live without 
employment had any rightful claim to the distinctive title of gentle- 
man. ... A patrician by birth and a merchant by profession, Crom- 
melin proved, by his own life, his example, and his enterprise, that 
an energetic manufacturer may, at the same time, take a high place 
in the conventional world." 

Growth of Belfast. 273 

tries that give employment to large numbers of per- 
sons, and enable them to maintain themselves and 
families upon the fruits of their labor, instead of liv- 
ing upon poor-rates levied from the labors of others, 
or who are forced, by want of employment, to banish 
themselves from their own country, to emigrate and 
settle among strangers, where they know not what may 
become of them is a most honorable and important 
source of influence, and worthy of every encourage- 
ment. Look at the wonderfully rapid rise of Belfast, 
originating in the enterprise of individuals, and devel- 
oped by the earnest and anxious industry of the inhab- 
itants of Ulster! 

"God save Ireland!" By all means. But Ireland 
cannot be saved without the help of the people who 
live in it. God endowed men, there as elsewhere, with 
reason, will, and physical power, and it is by patient 
industry only that they can open up a pathway to the 
enduring prosperity of the country. There is no Eden 
in nature. The earth might have continued a rude, 
uncultivated wilderness, but for human energy, power, 
and industry. These enable man to subdue the wil- 
derness, and develop the potency of labor. Possunt 
quia credunt posse. They must conquer who will. 

Belfast is a comparatively modern town. It has no 
ancient history. About the besnnnin^ of the sixteenth 

** O O 

century it was little better than a fishing village. 
There was a castle, and a ford to it across the Lagan. 

f C_7 

A chapel was built at the ford, at which hurried prayers 
were offered up for those who were about to cross 
the currents of Lagan Water. In 1575 Sir Henry Syd- 
ney writes to the Lords of the Council: " I was offered 
skirmish by MacNeill Bryan Ertaugh at my passage 
over the water at Belfast, which I caused to be an- 
swered, and passed over without losse of man or horse; 
yet by reason of the extraordinaire Retorne our horses 


Induxti'y in Ireland. 

swamnie and the Footmen in the passage waded very 
deep." The country round about was forest land. It 
was so thickly wooded that it was a common saying 
that one might walk to Lurgan "on the tops of the 

In 1612 Belfast consisted of about one hundred and 
twenty houses, built of mud and covered with thatch. 
The whole value of the land on which the town is sit- 
uated is said to have been worth only 5 in fee sim- 
ple.* " Ulster," said Sir John Davies, " is a very des- 
ert or wilderness; the inhabitants thereof having for 
the most part no certain habitation in any towns or 
villages." In 1659 Belfast contained only six hundred 
inhabitants ; Carrickfergus was more important, and 
had one thousand three hundred and twelve inhabit- 
ants. But about 1660 the Long Bridge over the La- 
gan was built, and prosperity began to dawn upon the 
little town. It was situated at the head of a naviga- 
ble lough, and formed an outlet for the manufacturing 
products of the inland country. Ships of any burden, 
however, could not come near the town. The cargoes, 
down even to a recent date, had to be discharged into 
lighters at Garmovle. Streams of water made their 

O / 

way to the lough through the mud-banks, and a rivu- 
let ran through what is now known as the High Street. 
The population gradually increased. In 1788 Bel- 
fast had twelve thousand inhabitants. But it was not 
until after the union with Great Britain that the town 
made so great a stride. At the beginning of the pres- 
ent century it had about twenty thousand inhabitants. 
At every successive census the progress made was ex- 
traordinary, until now the population of Belfast amounts 
to over two hundred and twenty-five thousand. There 


is scarcely an instance of so large a rate of increase in 
* Binns, " History of Belfast," p. 73. 

Ship-building at Belfast. 275 

the British Islands, except in the exceptional case of Mid- 
dle sboro ugh, which was the result of the opening out 
of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, and the dis- 
covery of ironstone in the hills of Cleveland in York- 
shire. Dundee and Barrow are supposed to present 
the next most rapid increases of population. 

The increase of shipping has also been equally great. 
Ships from other ports frequented the lough for pur- 
poses of trade; but in course of time the Belfast mer- 
chants supplied themselves with ships of their own. 
In 1791 one William Ritchie, a sturdy North Briton, 
brought with him from Glasgow ten men and a quan- 
tity of ship-building materials. He greatly increased 
the number of his workmen, and proceeded to build a 
few sloops. He reclaimed some land from the sea, 
and made a shipyard and graving dock on what was 
known as Corporation Ground. In November, 1800, 
the new graving dock, near the bridge, was opened for 
the reception of vessels. It was capable of receiving 
three vessels of two hundred tons each! In 1807 a ves- 
sel of four hundred tons' burden was launched from 
Mr. Ritchie's shipyard, when a great crowd of people 
assembled to witness the launching of " so large a 
ship " far more than now assemble to see a three 
thousand - tonner of the White Star Line leave the 
slips and enter the water. 

The ship-building trade has been one of the most 
rapidly developed, especially of late years. In 1805 
the number of vessels frequenting the port was eight 
hundred and forty, whereas in 1883 the number had 
been increased to seven thousand five hundred and 
eight, with about a million and a half of tonnage; 
while the gross value of the exports from Belfast ex- 
ceeded twenty millions sterling annually. In 1819 the 
first steamboat of one hundred tons was used to tug 
the vessels up the windings of the lough, which it did 

276 Industry in Ireland. 

at the rate of three miles an hour, to the astonishment 
of everybody. Seven years later the steamboat JRob 
Roy was put on between Glasgow and Belfast. But 
all these vessels had been built in Scotland. It was 
not until 1826 that the first steamboat, the Chieftain, 
was built in Belfast, by the same William Ritchie. 
Then, in 1838, the first iron boat was built in the La- 
gan foundry, by Messrs. Coates & Young, though it 
was but a mere cockle-shell compared with the mighty 
ocean steamers which are now regularly launched from 
Queen's Island. In the year 1883 the largest ship- 
building firm in the town launched thirteen vessels, of 
over thirty thousand tons gross, while two other firms 
launched twelve ships, of about ten thousand tons 

I do not propose to enter into details respecting the 
progress of the trades of Belfast. The most important 
is the spinning of fine linen yarn, which is for the most 
part concentrated in that tovrn, over twenty-five mill- 
ions of pounds weight being exported annually. Tow- 
ards the end of the seventeenth century the linen man- 
ufacture had made but little progress. In 1680 all 
Ireland did not export more than 6000 worth annu- 
ally. Dro'gheda was then of greater importance than 
Belfast. But, with the settlement of the persecuted 
Huguenots in Ulster, and especially through the ener- 
getic labors of Crommelin, Goyer, and others, the 
growth of flax was sedulously cultivated, and its man- 
ufacture into linen of all sorts became an important 
branch of Irish industry. In the course of about fifty 
years the exports of linen fabrics increased to the value 
of over 600,000 per annum. 

It was still, however, a handicraft manufacture, and 
done for the most part at home. Flax was spun and 
yarn was woven by hand. Eventually machinery was 
employed, and the turn-out became proportionately 

Industries of Belfast. 277 

large and valuable. It would not be possible for hand- 
labor to supply the amount of linen now turned out by 
the aid of machinery. It would require three times 
the entire population of Ireland to spin and weave, by 
the old spinning-wheel and hand-loom methods, the 
amount of linen and cloth now annually manufactured 
by the operatives of Belfast alone. There are now 
forty large spinning-mills in Belfast and the neighbor- 
hood alone, giving employment to a large number of 
working people.* 

In the course of my visit to Belfast, I inspected the 
works of the York Street flax-spinning mill, founded 
in 1830, by the Messrs. Mulholland, which now give 
employment, directly or indirectly, to many thousands 
of persons. I visited, also, with my young Italian 
friend, the admirable printing establishment of Mar- 
cus Ward & Co., the works of the Belfast Rope-work 
Company, and the ship-building works of Harland & 
Wolff. There we passed through the roar of the iron 
forge, the clang of the Nasmyth hammer, and the in- 
termittent glare of the furnaces, all telling of the novel 
appliances of modern ship-building, and the power of 
the modern steam-engine. I prefer to give a brief ac- 
count of this latter undertaking, as it exhibits one of 
the newest and most important industries of Belfast. 
It also shows, on the part of its proprietors, a brave en- 
counter with difficulties, and sets before the friends of 
Ireland the truest and surest method of not only giv- 

* From the "Irish Manufacturers' Almanac" for 1883 I learn that 
nearly one third of the spindles used in Europe in the linen trade, and 
more than one fourth of the power-looms, belong to Ireland, that " the 
Irish linen and associated trades at present give employment to one 
hundred and seventy-six thousand three hundred and three persons; 
and it is estimated that the capital sunk in spinning and weaving 
factories, and the business incidental thereto, is about 100,000,000, 
and of that sum 37,000,000 is credited to Belfast alone." 

27S Industry in Ireland. 

ing employment to its people, but of building up on 
the surest foundation the prosperity of the country. 

The first occasion on which I visited Belfast the 
rt.-ader will excuse the introduction of myself was in 
1840, about forty-four years ago. I went thither on 
the invitation of the late William Sharrnan Crawford, 
Esq., M.P., the first prominent advocate of tenant- 
right, to attend a public meeting of the Ulster Asso- 
ciation, and to spend a few days with him at his resi- 
dence at Crawfordsburn, near Bangor. Belfast was 
then a town of comparatively little importance, though 
it had already made a fair start in commerce and 


industry. As our steamer approached the head of 
the lough, a large number of laborers were observed, 
with barrows, picks, and spades, scooping out and 
wheeling up the slob and mud of the estuary, for the 
purpose of forming what is now known as Queen's 
Island, on the eastern side of the River Lagan. The 
work was conducted by William Dargan, the famous 
Irish contractor; and its object was to make a straight 
artificial outlet the Victoria Channel by means of 
which vessels drawing twenty -three feet of water 
might reach the port of Belfast. Before then, the 
course of the Lagan was, tortuous, and difficult of nav- 
igation ; but by the straight cut, which was completed 
in 1846, and afterwards extended farther seawards, 
ships of large burden were enabled to reach the quays, 
which extend for about a mile below Queen's Bridge, 
on both sides of the river. 

It was a saying of honest William Dargan, that 
" when a thing is put anyway right at all, it takes a 
vast deal of mismanagement to make it go wrong." 
He had another curious saying about " the calf eating 
the cow's belly," which, he said, was not right, " at 
all, at all." Belfast illustrated his proverbial remarks. 
That the cutting of the Victoria Channel was doing 

Commerce of Belfast. 279 

the "right thing" for Belfast was clear from the con- 
stantly increasing traffic of the port. In course of 
time several extensive docks and tidal basins were 
added, while provision was made, in laying out the 
reclaimed land at the entrance of the estuary, for their 
future extension and enlargement. The town of Bel- 
fast was by these means gradually placed in imme- 
diate connection, by sea, with the principal western 
ports of England and Scotland, steamships of large 
burden now leaving it daily for Liverpool, Glasgow, 
Fleet wood, Barrow, and Ardrossan. The ships enter- 
ing the port of Belfast in 1883 were seven thousand 
five hundred and eight, of one million five hundred 
and twenty-six thousand five hundred and thirty-five 
tons ; they had been more than doubled in fifteen 
years. The town has risen from nothing, to exhibit a 
customs revenue, in 1S83, of 608,781, infinitely great- 
er than that of Leith, the port of Edinburgh, or of 
Hull, the chief port of Yorkshire. The population has 
also largely increased. When I visited Belfast, in 
1840, the town contained seventy-five thousand inhab- 
itants. They are now over two hundred and twenty- 
five thousand, or more than trebled, Belfast being the 
tenth town, in point of population, in the United King- 



The spirit and enterprise of the people are illustrated 
by the variety of their occupations. They do not con- 
fine themselves to one branch of business, but their 
energies overflow into nearly every department of in- 
dustry. Their linen manufacture is of world - wide 
fame, but much less known are their more recent en- 
terprises. The production of aerated waters, for in- 
stance, is something extraordinary. In 1882 the manu- 
facturers shipped off fifty-three thousand one hundred 
and sixty-three packages, and twenty-four thousand 
two hundred and sixty-three hundredweights of aerat- 

2SO Industry in Ireland. 

ed waters to England, Scotland, Australia, New Zea- 
land, and other countries. Although Ireland produces 
no wrought iron, though it contains plenty of iron- 
stone and Belfast has to import all the iron which it 
consumes yet one engineering firm alone, that of 
Combe, Barbour, & Combe employs one thousand 
five hundred highly paid mechanics, and ships off their 
own machinery to all parts of the world. The printing 
establishment of Marcus Ward & Co. employs over one 
thousand highly skilled and ingenious persons, and 
extends the influence of learning and literature into 


all civilized countries. We might add the various 
manufactures of roofing-felt (of which there are five), 
of ropes, of stoves, of stable-fittings, of nails, of starch, 
of machinery, all of which have earned a world-wide 

We prefer, however, to give an account of the last 
new industry of Belfast, that of shipping and ship- 
building. Although, as we have said, Belfast imports 
from Scotland and England all its iron and all its coal,* 
it nevertheless, by the skill and strength of its men, 
sends out some of the finest and largest steamships 
that navigate the Atlantic and Pacific. It all comes 
from the power of individuality, and furnishes a splen- 
did example for Dublin, Cork, Waterford, and Limer- 
ick, each of which is provided by nature with magnif- 
icent harbors, with fewer of those difficulties of access 
which Belfast has triumphed over, and each of which 
might be the centre of great industrial enterprises, 
provided only there were patriotic men willing to em- 
bark their capital, perfect protection for the property 
invested, and men willing to work rather than to strike. 

It was not until the year 1853 that the Queen's Isl- 

* The importation of coal in 1883 amounted to over seven hundred 
thousand tons. 

Harland & Wolff. 281 

and raked out of the mud of the slob-land was first 
used for ship-building purposes. Robert Hickson & 
Co. then commenced operations by laying down the 
Mary Stenhouse, a wooden sailing-ship of one thou- 
sand two hundred and eighty-nine tons' register, and 
the vessel was launched in the following year. The 
operations of the firm were continued until the year 
1859, when the ship-building establishments on Queen's 
Island were acquired by Mr. E. J. Harland (afterwards 
Harland & Wolff), since which time the development 
of this great branch of industry in Belfast has been 
rapid and complete. 

From the history of this firm, it will be found that 
energy is the most profitable of all merchandise, and 
that the fruit of active work is the sweetest of all 
fruits. Harland & Wolff are the true Watt & Boul- 
ton of Belfast. At the beginning of their great en- 
terprise the works occupied about four acres of land; 
they now occupy over thirty-six acres. The firm has 
imported not less than two hundred thousand tons of 
iron, which have been converted by skill and labor 
into one hundred and sixty-eight ships of two hundred 
and fifty-three thousand total tonnage. These ships, 
if laid close together, would measure nearly eight 
miles in length. 


The advantage to the wage-earning class can only 
be shortly stated. Not less than thirty-four per cent, 
is paid in labor on the cost of the ships turned out. 
The number of persons employed in the works is 
three thousand nine hundred and twenty ; and the 
weekly wages paid to them is 4000, or over 200,000 
annually. Since the commencement of the undertak- 
ing, about two millions sterling have been paid in 
wages. All this goes towards the support of the vari- 
ous industries of the place. That the working-classes 
of Belfast are thrifty and frugal may be inferred from 

Industry in Ireland. 

the fact that, at the end of 1882, they held deposits in 
the Savings JJank to the amount of 230,289, besides 
158,064 in the Post-office Savings Banks.* Nearly 
all the better class of working people of the town live 
in separate dwellings, either rented or their own prop- 
erty. There are ten building societies in Belfast, in 
which industrious people may store their earnings, and 
in course of time either buy or build their own houses. 

The example of energetic, active men always spreads. 
Belfast contains two other ship-building yards, both the 
outcome of Harland & Wolff's enterprise those of 
Messrs. Macilwaine & Lewis, employing about four 
hundred men, and of Messrs. Workman & Clarke, em- 
ploying about a thousand. The heads of both these 
firms were trained in the parent ship-building works 
of Belfast. There is no feeling of rivalry between the 
firms, but all work together for the good of the town. 

In "Plutarch's Lives "we are told that Themistocles 
said on one occasion, " 'Tis true that I have never 
learned how to tune a harp, or play upon a lute, but I 
know how to raise a small and inconsiderable city to 
glory and greatness." So might it be said of Harland 
& Wolff. They have given Belfast not only a potency 
for good, but a world- wide reputation. Their energies 
overflow. Mr. Harland is the active and ever-prudent 
chairman of the most important of the local boards, 

We are indebted to the obliging kindness of the Right Honorable 
Mr. FaAVcett, Postmaster-general, for this return : The total number 
of depositors in the Post-office Savings Banks in the parliamentary 
borough of Belfast is ten thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, 
and the amount of their deposits, including the interest standing to 
their credit, on the 31st of December, 1882, was 158,064 Os. Id. 

An important item in the savings of Belfast, not included in the 
above returns, consists in the amounts of deposits made with the vari- 
ous limited companies, as well as with the thriving building societies 
in the town and neighborhood. 

Belfast Hope-work Company. 283 

the Harbor Trust of Belfast, and exerts himself to 
promote the extension of the harbor facilities of the 
port as if the benefits were to be exclusively his, while 
Mr. Wolff is the chairman of one of the latest-born in- 
dustries of the place, the Belfast Rope- work Company, 
which already gives employment to over six hundred 

This last-mentioned industry is only about six years 
old. The works occupy over seven acres of ground, 
more than six acres of which are under roofing. Al- 


though the whole of the raw material is imported from 
abroad from Russia, the Philippine Islands, New Zea- 
land, and Central America it is exported again in a 
manufactured state to all parts of the world. 

Such is the contagion of example, and such the ever- 
branching industries with which men of enterprise and 
industry can enrich and bless their country. The fol- 
lowing brief memoir of the career of Mr. Harland has 


been furnished at my solicitation, and I think that it 
will be found full of interest as well as instruction. 




" The useful arts are but reproductions or new combinations, by the 
art of man, of the same natural benefactors. lie no longer waits for 
favoring gales, but by means of steam lie realizes the fable of JEohis's 
bag, and carries the two-and-thirty winds in the boiler of his boat."- 

"The most exquisite and the most expensive machinery is brought 
into play where operations on the most common materials are to be 
performed, because these are executed on the widest scale. Tin's is 
the meaning of the vast and astonishing prevalence of machine work 
in this country ; that the machine, with its million fingers, works for 
millions of purchasers, while in remote countries, where magnificence 
and savagery stand side by side, tens of thousands work for one. 
There Art labors for the rich alone ; here she works for the poor no 
less. There the multitude produce only to give splendor and grace 
to the despot or the warrior, whose slaves they are, and whom they 
enrich ; here the man who is powerful in the weapons of peace, capi- 
tal and machinery, uses them to give comfort and enjoyment to the 
public, whose servant he is, and thus becomes rich while he enriches 
others with his goods." WILLIAM WIIEAVELL, D.D. 

I WAS born at Scarborough, in May, 1831, the sixth 
of a family of eight. My father was a native of Rose- 
dale, half-way between Whitby and Pickering : his 
nurse was the sister of Captain Scoresby, celebrated 
as an Arctic explorer. Arrived at manhood, he studied 
medicine, graduated at Edinburgh, and practised in 
Scarborough until nearly his death, in 1866. He was 
thrice mayor, and a justice of the peace for the bor- 
ough. Dr. Harland was a man of much force of 

Dr. Harland of Scarborough. 285 

character, and displayed great originality in the treat- 
ment of disease. Besides exercising skill in his pro- 
fession, he had a great love for mechanical pursuits. 
He spent his leisure time in inventions of many sorts; 
and, in conjunction with the late Sir George Cayley, 
of Brompton, he kept an excellent mechanic constantly 
at work. 

In 1827 he invented and patented a steam- carriage 
for running on common roads. Before the adoption 
of railways the old stage-coaches were found slow, and 
insufficient for the traffic. A working model of the 
steam-coach was perfected, embracing a multitubular 
boiler for quickly raising high-pressure steam, with a 
revolving surface-condenser for reducing the steam to 
water again, by means of its exposure to the cold 
draught of the atmosphere through the interstices of 
extremely thin laminations of copper plates. The en- 
tire machinery, placed under the bottom of the car- 
riage, was borne on springs, the whole being of an 
elegant form. This model steam-carriage ascended 
with perfect ease the steepest roads. Its success was 
so complete that Dr. Harland designed a full-sized 
carriage; but the demands upon his professional skill 
were so great that he was prevented going further 
than constructing the pair of engines, the wheels, and 
a part of the boiler, all of which remnants I still pre- 
serve, as valuable links in the progress of steam loco- 

Other branches of practical science such as elec- 
tricity, magnetism, and chemical cultivation of the soil 
received a share of his attention. He predicted that 
three or four powerful electric lamps would yet light 
a whole city. He was also convinced of the feasibility 
of an electric cable to New York, and calculated the 
probable cost. As an example to the neighborhood, 
he successfully cultivated a tract of moorland, and 

286 Ship-building in Belfast. 

oveivnme difficulties which before then were thought 

When passing through Newcastle, while still a young 
man, on one of his journeys to the university at Edin- 
burgh, and being desirous of witnessing the operations 
in a coal-mine, a friend recommended him to visit Kil- 
lingworth pit, where he would find one George Ste- 
phenson, a most intelligent workman, in charge. My 
father was introduced to Mr. Stephenson accordingly, 
and, after rambling over the underground workings, 
and observing the pumping and winding engines in 
full operation, a friendship was made, which after- 
wards proved of the greatest service to myself, by fa- 
cilitating my being placed as a pupil at the great en- 
gineering works of Messrs. Robert Stephenson & Co., 
at Newcastle. 

My mother was the daughter of Gawan Pierson, a 
landed proprietor of Goathland, near Rosedale. She, 
too, was surprisingly mechanical in her tastes, and as- 
sisted my father in preparing many of his plans, be- 
sides attaining considerable proficiency in drawing, 
painting, and modelling in wax. Toys in those days 
were poor, as well as very expensive to purchase. But 
the nursery soon became a little workshop, under her 
directions, and the boys were usually engaged, one in 
making a cart, another in carving out a horse, and a 
third in cutting out a boat, while the girls were mak- 
ing harness, or sewing sails, or cutting out and making 
perfect dresses for their dolls, whose houses were com- 
pletely furnished with everything, from the kitchen to 
the attic, all made at home. 

It was in a house of such industry and mechanism 
that I was brought up. As a youth, I was slow at my 
lessons, preferring to watch and assist workmen when 
I had an opportunity of doing so, even with the cer- 
tainty of having a thrashing from the schoolmaster for 

Model Yacht-building. *287 

my neglect. Thus I got to know every workshop and 
every workman in the town. At any rate, I picked up 
a smattering of a variety of trades which afterwards 
proved of the greatest use to me. The chief of these 
was wooden ship-building, a branch of industry then 
extensively carried on by Messrs. William & Robert 
Tindall, the former of whom resided in London ; he 
was one of the half-dozen great ship-builders and own- 
ers who founded " Lloyd's." Splendid East-Indiamen, 
of some one thousand tons burden, were then built at 
Scarborough, and scarcely a timber was moulded, a 
plank bent, a spar lined off, or launching ship-ways laid 
without my being present to witness them. And thus, 
in course of time, I was able to make for myself the 
neatest and fastest of model yachts. 

At that time I attended the grammar-school. Of 
the rudiments taught, I was fondest of drawing, ge- 
ometry, and Euclid. Indeed, I went twice through the 
first two books of the latter before I was twelve years 


old. At this age I w r as sent to the Edinburgh Acade- 
my, my eldest brother, William, being then a medical 
student at the university. I remained at Edinburgh 
two years. My early progress in mathematics would 
have been lost in the classical training which was then 
insisted upon at the academy but for my brother, who 
was not only a good mathematician, but an excellent 
mechanic. He took care to carry on my instruction in 
that branch of knowledge, as well as to teach me to 
make models of machines and buildings, in which he 
was himself proficient. I remember, in one of my 
journeys to Edinburgh, by coach from Darlington, 
that a gentleman expressed his wonder what a screw 
propeller could be like; for the screw, as a method of 
propulsion, was then being introduced. I pointed out 
to him the patent tail of a windmill by the roadside, 
and said, " It is just like that!" 

Shipbuilding in /l>h'<txt. 

In 1844 my mother died ; and shortly after, my 
brother having become M.D., and obtained a prize 
gold medal, we returned to Scarborough. It was in- 
tended that he should assist my father, but he pre- 
ferred going abroad for a few years. I may men- 
tion further, with relation to him, that, after many 
years of scientific research and professional practice, 
he died at Hong Kong in 1858, when a public monu- 
ment was erected to his memory in what is known as 
the " Happy Valley." 

I remained for a short time under the tuition of my 
old master. But, as the time was rapidly approaching 
when I, too, must determine what I was " to be " in 
life, I had no hesitation in deciding to be an engineer, 
though my father wished me to be a barrister. But I 
kept constant to my resolution, and eventually he suc- 
ceeded, through his early acquaintance with George 
Stephen son, in gaining for me an entrance to the en- 
gineering works of Robert Stephenson & Co., at New- 
castle-npon-Tyne. I started there as a pupil on my 
fifteenth birthday, for an apprenticeship of five years. 
I was to spend the first four years in the various work- 
shops, and the last year in the drawing-office. 

I was now in my element. The working-hours, it is 
true, were very long, being from six in the morning un- 
til quarter-past eight at night, excepting on Saturday, 
when we knocked-off at four. However, all this gave 
me so much the more experience, and, taking advan- 
tage of it, I found that, when I had reached the age of 
eighteen, I was intrusted with the full charge of erect- 
ing one side of a locomotive. I had to accomplish the 
same amount of work as mv mate on the other side, 


one Murray Playfair, a powerful, hard-working Scotch- 
man. My strength and endurance were sometimes 
taxed to the utmost, and required the intervals of my 
labor to be spent in merely eating and sleeping. 

Design a Model Lifeboat. 289 

I afterwards went through the machine-shops. I 
was fortunate enough to get charge of the best screw- 
cutting and brass-turning lathe in the shop, the for- 
mer occupant, Jack Singleton, having just been pro- 
moted to a foreman's berth at the Messrs. Armstrong's 
factory. He afterwards became superintendent of all 
the hydraulic machinery of the Mersey Dock Trust at 
Liverpool. After my four years had been completed 
I went into the drawing-office, to which I had looked 
forward with pleasure; and, having before practised 
lineal as well as free-hand drawing, I soon succeeded 
in getting good and difficult designs to work out, and 
eventually finished drawings of the engines. Indeed, 
on visiting the works many years after, one of these 
drawings was shown to me as a " specimen," the per- 
son exhibiting it not knowing that it was my own 

In the course of my occasional visits to Scarborough 
my attention was drawn to the imperfect design of the 
lifeboats of the period, the frequent* shipwrecks along 
the coast indicating the necessity for their improve- 
ment. After considerable deliberation, I matured a 
plan for a metal lifeboat, of a cylindrico-conical or 
chrysalis form, to be propelled by a screw at each end, 
turned by sixteen men inside, seated on water-ballast 
tanks, sufficient room, being left at the ends inside for 
the accommodation of ten or twelve shipwrecked per- 
sons, while a mate, near the bow, and the captain, near 
the stern, in 'charge of the rudder, were stationed in 
recesses in the deck about three feet deep. The whole 
apparatus was almost cylindrical, and water-tight save 
in the self-acting ventilators, which could only give 
access to the smallest portion of water. I considered 
that if the lifeboat, fully manned, were launched into 
the roughest seas, or off the deck of a vessel, it would, 
even if it turned on its back, immediately right itself, 


290 Ship-building in Belfast. 

without any of the crew being disturbed from their 
positions, to which they were to have been strapped. 

It happened that at this time (the summer of 1850) 
his grace the late Duke of Northumberland, who had 
always taken a deep interest in the Lifeboat Institu- 
tion, offered a prize of one hundred guineas for the 
best model and design of such a craft ; so I deter- 
mined to complete my plans, and make a working 
model of my lifeboat. I came to the conclusion that 
the evlindrico-conical form, with the frames to be car- 


ried completely round and forming beams as well, and 
the two screws, one at each end, worked off the same 
power, by which one or other of them would always be 
immersed, were worth registering in the patent-office. 
I therefore entered a caveat there, and continued work- 
ing at my model in the evenings. I first made a wood- 
en block model, on the scale of an inch to the foot. I 
had some difficulty in procuring sheets of copper thin 
enough, so that the model should draw only the cor- 
rect amount of water; but at last I succeeded, through 
finding the man at Newcastle who had supplied my 
father with copper plates for his early road locomo- 

The model was only thirty-two inches in length and 
eight inches in beam; and, in order to fix all the inter- 
nal fittings of tanks, seats, crank-handles, and pulleys, 
I had first to fit the shell plating, and then, by finally 
securing one strake of plates on, and then another, 
after all inside was complete, I at last finished for 
good the last outside plate. In executing the job, my 
early experience of all sorts of handiwork came ser- 
viceably to my aid. After many a whole night's work 
for the evenings alone were not sufficient for the pur- 
pose I at length completed my model, and trium- 
phantly and confidently took it to sea in an open boat, 
and then cast it into the waves. The model either 

Prize for the Lifeboat. 291 

rode over them or passed through them ; if it was 
sometimes rolled over, it righted itself at once, and re- 
sumed its proper attitude in the waters. After a con- 
siderable trial, I found scarcely a trace of water inside. 
Such as had got there was merely through the joints in 
the sliding hatches, though the ventilators were free to 
work during the experiments. 

I completed the prescribed drawings and specifica- 
tions, and sent them, together with the model, to Som- 
erset House. Some two hundred and eighty schemes 
of lifeboats were submitted for competition, but mine 
was not successful. I suspect that the extreme novelty 
of the arrangement deterred the adjudicators from 
awarding in its favor. Indeed, the scheme was so un- 
precedented, and so entirely out of the ordinary course 
of things, that there was no special mention made of it 
in the report afterwards published, and even the de- 
scription of it there given was incorrect. The prize 
was awarded to Mr. James Beeching, of Great Yar- 
mouth, whose plans were afterwards generally adopt- 
ed by the Lifeboat Society. I have preserved my 
model just as it was, and some of its features have since 
been introduced with advantage into ship-building.* 

* Although Mr. Hartland took no further steps with his lifeboat, the 
project seems well worthy of a fair trial. We had lately the pleasure 
of seeing the model launched and tried on the lake behind Mr. Har- 
land's residence at Ormiston, near Belfast. The cylindrical lifeboat 
kept perfectly water-tight, and though thrown into the water in many 
different positions sometimes tumbled in on its prow, at other times 
on its back (the deck being undermost) it invariably righted itself. 
The screws fore and aft worked well, and were capable of being turned 
by human labor or by steam power. Now that such large freights of 
passengers are carried by ocean-going ships, it would seem necessary 
that some such method should be adopted of preserving life at sea ; 
for ordinary lifeboats, which are so subject to destructive damage, are 
often of little use in fires or shipwrecks, or other accidents on the 

J:"L> Shipbuilding in Belfast. 

The linn of Robert Stephenson & Co. having con- 
tract I'd to build for the government three large iron 
caissons for the Keyham .Docks, and as these wen- 
very similar in construction to that of an ordinary 
iron ship, draughtsmen conversant with that class of 
work were specially engaged to superintend it. The 
manager, knowing my fondness for ships, placed me 
as his assistant at this new work. After I had mas- 
tered it, I endeavored to introduce improvements, hav- 
ing observed certain defects in laving down the lines; 

^j / 

I mean, bv the use of graduated curves cut out of thin 

' v 

wood. In lieu of this method, I contrived thin tapered 
laths of lancewood, and weights of a particular form, 
with steel claws and knife edges attached, so as to 
hold the lath tightly down to the paper, yet capable 
of being readily adjusted, so as to produce any form 
of curve, along which the pen could freely and con- 
tinuously travel. This method proved very efficient, 
and it has since come into general use. 

The Messrs. Stepheuson were then also making ma- 
rine-engines, as well as large condensing pumping-en- 
gines, and a large tubular bridge to be erected over 
the river Don. The splendid high-level bridge over 
the Tyne, of which Robert Stephenson was the engi- 
neer, was also in course of construction. With the 
opportunity of seeing these great works in progress, 
and of visiting, during my holidays and long even- 
ings, most of the manufactories and mines in the 
neighborhood of Newcastle, I could not fail to pick 
up considerable knowledge, and an acquaintance with 
a vast variety of trades. There were about thirty 
other pupils in the works at the same time with my- 
self ; some were there either through favor or idle 
fancy ; but comparatively few gave their full atten- 
tion to the work, and I have since heard nothing of 
them. Indeed, unless a young fellow takes a real in- 

Apprenticeship at Stephensons\ 293 

terest in his work, and has a genuine love for it, the 
greatest advantages will prove of no avail whatever. 

It was a good plan adopted at the works to require 
the pupils to keep the same hours as the rest of the 
men; and, though they paid a premium on entering, 
to give them the same rate of wages as the rest of the 
lads. Mr. William Hutchinson, a contemporary of 
George Stephenson, was the managing partner. He 
was a person of great experience, and had the most 
thorough knowledge of men and materials, knowing 
well how to handle both to the best advantage. His son- 
in-law, Mr. William Weallans, was the head draughts- 
man, and very proficient, not only in quickness, but in 
accuracy and finish. I found it of great advantage to 
have the benefit of the example and the training of 
these very clever men. 

My five years' apprenticeship was completed in May, 
1851, on my twentieth birthday. Having had but very 
little "black time," as it was called, beyond the half- 
yearly holiday for visiting my friends, and having only 
" slept in " twice during the five years, I was at once 
entered on the books as a journeyman, on the "big' 
wage of twenty shillings a week. Orders were, how- 
ever, at that time very difficult to be had. Railway 
trucks, and even navvies' barrows, were contracted for 
in order to keep the men employed. It was better not 
to discharge them, and to find something for them to 
do. At the same time it was not very encouraging for 
me, under such circumstances, to remain with the firm. 
I therefore soon arranged to leave, and first of all I 
went to see London. It was the Great Exhibition year 
of 1851. I need scarcely say what a rich feast I found 

f V 

there, and how thoroughly I enjoyed it all. I spent 
about two months in inspecting the works of art and 
mechanics in the exhibition, to my own great advan- 
tage. I then returned home, and, after remaining in 

i".4 Shipbuilding in Belfast. 

Scarborough for a short time, I proceeded to 
gow with a letter of introduction to .Messrs. J. & G. 
Thomson, marine-engine builders, who started me on 
the same wages I had received at Stephenson's, namely, 
twenty shillings a week. 

I found the banks of the Clyde splendid ground for 
gaining further mechanical knowledge. There were 
the ship and engine works on both sides of the river 
down to Govan; and below there, at Renfrew, Dum- 
barton, Port Glasgow, and Greenock, no end of mag- 
nificent yards, so that I had plenty of occupation for 
my leisure time on Saturday afternoons. The works 

/ *- 

of Messrs. Robert Napier & Sons were then at the top 
of the tree. The largest Cunard steamers were built 
and engined there. Tod & Macgregor were the fore- 
most in screw steamships, those for the Peninsular and 
Oriental Company being splendid models of symmetry 
and works of art. Some of the fine wooden paddle- 
steamers, built in Bristol for the Royal Mail Compa- 
ny, were sent round to the Clyde for their machinery. 
I contrived to board all these ships from time to time, 
so as to become well acquainted with their respective 
merits and peculiarities. 

As an illustration of hovf contrivances, excellent in 
principle, but defective in construction, may be dis- 
carded, but again taken up under more favorable cir- 
cumstances, I may mention that I saw a Hall's patent 
surface-condenser thrown to one side from one of these 
steamers, the principal difficulty being in keeping it 
tight. And yet, in the course of a very few years, 
by the simplest possible contrivance inserting an in- 
dia-rubber ring round each end of the tube (Spencer's 
patent) surface condensation in marine-engines came 
into vogue, and there is probably no ocean-going steam- 
er afloat without it, furnished with every variety of 
suitable packings. 

Become Head Draughtsman. 295 

After some time the Messrs. Thomson determined 
to build their own vessels, and an experienced naval 
draughtsman was engaged, to whom I was " told off ' 
whenever he needed assistance. In the course of time 
more and more of the ship work came in my way. 
Indeed, I seemed to obtain the preference. Fortu- 
nately for us both, my superior obtained an appoint- 
ment of a similar kind on the Tyne, at superior pay, 
and I was promoted to his place. The Thomsons had 
now a very fine ship-building yard, in full working or- 
der, with several large steamers on the stocks. I was 
placed in the drawing-office as head draughtsman. At 
the same time I had no rise of wages, but still went on 
enjoying my twenty shillings a week. I was, however, 
gaming information and experience, and knew that 
better pay would follow in due course of time. And, 
without solicitation,! was eventually offered an engage- 
ment for a term of years, at an increased and increas- 
ing salary, with three months' notice on either side. 

I had only enjoyed the advance for a short time 
when Mr. Thomas Toward, a ship-builder on the Tyne, 
being in want of a manager, made application to the 
Messrs. Stephenson for such a person. They men- 
tioned my name, and Mr. Toward came over to the 
Clyde to see me. The result was that I became en- 
gaged, and it was arranged that I should enter on my 
enlarged duties on the Tyne in the autumn of 1853. 
It was with no small reluctance that I left the Messrs. 
Thomson. They were first-class, practical men, and 
had throughout shown me every kindness and consid- 
eration. But a managership was not to be had every 
day, and, being the next step to the position of mas- 
ter, I could not neglect the opportunity of advance- 
ment which now offered itself. 

Before leaving Glasgow, however, I found that it 
would be necessary to have a new angle and plate fur- 

Ship-buildiny in Belfast. 

nuce provided for the works on the Tyne. Now, the 
best man in Glasgow for building these important 
requisites for ship-building work was scarcely ever 
sober; but, by watching and coaxing him, and by a 
liberal supply of Glenlivat afterwards, I contrived to 
lay down on paper, from his directions, what he con- 
sidered to be the best class of furnace, and by the \\v\ 
of this I was afterwards enabled to construct what 
proved to be the best furnace on the Tyne. 

To return to my education in ship-building. My 
early efforts in ship-draughting at Stephenson's were 
further developed and matured at Thomsons', on the 
Clyde. Models and drawings were more carefully 
worked out on the quarter-inch scale than heretofore. 
The stern-frames were laid off and put up at once cor- 
rectly, which before had been first shaped by full-sized 
wooden moulds. I also contrived a mode of quickly 
and correctly laying off the frame-lines on a model, bv 
laying it on a plane surface, and then, with a rectangu- 
lar block traversing it, a pencil in a suitable holder 
being readily applied over the curved surface. This 
method is now in general use. 

Even at that time competition, as regards speed, in 
the Clyde steamers was very keen. Foremost among 
the competitors was the late Mr. David Hutchinson, 
who, though delighted with the Mountaineer, built by 
the Thomsons in 1853, did not hesitate to have her 
lengthened forward to make her sharper, so as to se- 
cure her ascendency in speed during the ensuing sea- 
son. The result was satisfactorv ; and his steamers 

> * 

grew and grew, until they developed into the cele- 
brated lona and Cambria, which were in later vears 


built for him by the same firm. I may mention that 
the Cunard screw-steamer Jura was the last heavy job 
with which I was connected while at Thomsons'. 
I then proceeded to the Tyne, to superintend the 

Manager of S/iip-building Yard. 297 

building of ships and marine boilers. The ship-build- 
ing yard was at St. Peter's, about two and a half miles 
below Newcastle. I found the work, as practised 
there, rough-and-ready; but, by steady attention to all 
the details, and by careful inspection when passing the 
" piece-work ' : (a practice much in vogue there, but 
which I discouraged), I contrived to raise the standard 
of excellence, without a corresponding increase of 
price. My object was to raise the quality of the work 
turned out; and, as we had orders from the Russian 
government, from China, and the Continent, as well as 
from ship-owners at home, I observed that quality was 
a very important element in all commercial success. 
My master, Mr. Thomas Toward, was in declining 
health; and, being desirous of spending his winters 
abroad, I was consequently left in full charge of the 
works. But, as there did not appear to be a satisfac- 
tory prospect, under the circumstances, for any mate- 
rial development of the business, a trifling circum- 
stance arose, which again changed the course of my 

An advertisement appeared in the papers for a 
manager to conduct a ship-building yard in Belfast. 
I made inquiries as to the situation, and eventually 
applied for it. I was appointed, and entered upon my 
duties there at Christmas, 1854. The yard was a much 
larger one than that on the Tyne, and was capable of 
great expansion. It was situated on what was then 
well known as the Queen's Island; but now, like the 
Isle of Dogs, it has been attached by reclamation. 
The yard, about four acres in extent, was held by 
lease from the Belfast Harbor Commissioners. It was 
well placed, alongside a fine patent slip, with clejjr 
frontage, allowing of the largp^sfr^Brps feeing f 
launched. Indeed, the first slf^j^fniilt there, the Marifi^ 
/Sten/iouse, had only just been.' e&mpleted and launched *f- 

13 *\\<r>. Alexa: 

298 X/iip-lui/ffi/if/ n 

1\ .Mi-.-srs. Robert Ilickson & Co., then the proprie- 
tors of the undertaking. They were also the owners 
of the Eliza Street Iron Works, Bel fust, which were 
started to work up old iron materials. But, as the 
works were found to be unremunerative, they were 
shortly afterwards closed. 

On my entering the ship-building yard I found that 
the firm had an order for two large sailing-ships. One 
of these was partly in frame, and I at once taekled 
with it and the men. Mr. Hickson, the acting partner, 
not being practically acquainted with the business, the 
whole proceeding connected with the building of the 
ships devolved upon me. I had been engaged to su- 
persede a manager summarily dismissed. Although 
he had not given satisfaction to his employers, he was 
a great favorite with the men. Accordingly, my ap- 
pearance as manager in his stead was not very agree- 
able to the employed. On inquiry, I found that the 
rate of wages paid was above the usual value, while 
the quantity as well as quality of the work done were 
below the standard. I proceeded to rectify these de- 
fects by paying the ordinary rate of wages, and then 
by raising the quality of the Avork done. I was met 
by the usual method a strike. The men turned out. 
They were abetted by the former manager, and the 
leading hands hung about the town unemployed, in 
the hope of my throwing up the post in disgust. 

But, nothing daunted, I went repeatedly over to the 
Clyde for the purpose of enlisting fresh hands. When 
I brought them over, however, in batches, there was 
the greatest difficulty in inducing them to work. They 
were intimidated, or enticed, or feasted, and sent home 
again. The late manager had also taken a yard on the 
other side of the river, and actually commenced to 
build a ship, employing some of his old comrades; but 
beyond lavinsr the keel little more was ever done. A 

. ^^ 

Difficulty of a Strike. 299 

few months after my arrival niy firm bad to arrange 
with its creditors, while I, pending the settlement, had 
myself to guarantee the wages to a few of the leading 
hands, whom I had only just succeeded in gathering 
together. In this dilemma an old friend, a foreman 
on the Clyde, came over to Belfast to see me. After 
hearing my story, and considering the difficulties I 
had to encounter, he advised me at once to " throw up 
the job!" My reply was, that " having mounted a res- 
tive horse, I would ride him into the stable." 

Notwithstanding the advice of my friend, I held on. 
The comparatively few men in the works, as well as 
those out, evidently observed my determination. The 
obstacles were no doubt great ; the financial difficul- 
ties were extreme ; and yet there was a prospect of 
profit from the .work in hand, provided only the men 
could be induced to settle steadily down to their ordi- 
nary employment. I gradually gathered together a 
number of steady workmen, and appointed suitable 
foremen. I obtained a considerable accession of 
strength from Newcastle. On the death of Mr. Tow- 
ard, his head foreman, Mr. William Hanston, with a 
number of the leading hands, joined me. From that 
time forward the works went on apace, and we fin- 
ished the ships in hand to the perfect satisfaction of 
the owners. 

Orders were obtained for several large sailing-ships, 
as well as screw- vessels. We lifted and repaired 
wrecked ships, to the material advantage of Mr. Hick- 
son, then the sole representative of the firm. After 
three years thus engaged, I resolved to start some- 
where as a ship-builder on my own account. I made 
inquiries at Garston, Birkenhead, and other places. 
When Mr. Hickson heard of my intentions, he said he 


had no wish to carry on the concern after I left, and 
made a satisfactory proposal for the sale to me of his 

300 Ship-building in Belfast. 

holding of the Queen's Island yard. So I agreed to 
the proposed arrangement. The transfer and the pur- 
chase were soon completed, through the kind assistance 
of my old and esteemed friend, Mr. G. C. Schwabe, of 
Liverpool, whose nephew, Mr. G. W. Wolff, had been 
with me for a few months as my private assistant. 

It was necessary, however, before commencing for 
myself, that I should assist Mr. Hickson in finishing 
of? the remaining vessels in hand, as well as to look 

O 7 

out for orders on my own account. Fortunately, I had 
not long to wait, for it had so happened that my intro- 
duction to the Messrs. Thomson of Glasgow had been 
made through the instrumentality of my good friend 
Mr. Schwabe, who induced Mr. James Bibby ( of J. 
Bibby, Sons & Co., Liverpool) to furnish me with the 
necessary letter. While in Glasgow, I had endeav- 
ored to assist the Messrs. Bibby in the purchase of a 
steamer ; so I was now intrusted by them with the 
building of three screw-steamers, the Venetian, Sicil- 
ian, and Syrian, each two hundred and seventy feet 
long by thirty-four feet beam, and twenty -two feet 
nine inches hold; and contracted with Macnab & Co., 
Greenock, to supply the requisite steam-engines. 

This was considered a large order in those days. 
It required many additions to the machinery, plant, 
and tools of the yard. I invited Mr. Wolff, then away 
in the Mediterranean as engineer of a steamer, to return 
and take charge of the drawing-office. Mr. Wolff had 
served his apprenticeship w T ith Messrs. Joseph Whit- 
worth & Co., of Manchester, and was a most able 
man, thoroughly competent for the work. Everything 
went on prosperously, and, in the midst of all my en- 
gagements, I found time to woo and win the hand of 
Miss Rosa Waun, of Wilmont, Belfast, to whom I was 
married on the 26th of January, 1860, and by her 
great energy, soundness of judgment, and cleverness 

Partnership with Mr. Wolf. 301 

in organization I was soon relieved from all sources 
of care and anxiety, excepting those connected with 

The steamers were completed in the course of the 
following year, doubtless to the satisfaction of the 
owners, for their delivery was immediately followed 
by an order for two larger vessels. As I required fre- 
quently to go from home, and as the works must be 
carefully attended to during my absence, on the 1st of 
January, 1862, I took Mr. Wolff in as a partner, and 
the firm has since continued under the name of Har- 
land & Wolff. I may here add that I have, through- 
out, received the most able advice and assistance from 
my excellent friend and partner, and that we have to- 
gether been enabled to found an entirely new branch 
of industry in Belfast. 

It is necessary for me here to refer back a little to a 
screw-steamer which was built on the Clyde for Bibby 
& Co., by Mr. John Read, and engined by J. & G. 
Thomson while I was with them. That steamer was 
called the Tiber. She was looked upon as of an ex- 
treme length, being two hundred and thirty-five feet, 
in proportion to her beam, which was twenty-nine feet. 
Serious misgivings were thrown out as to whether she 
would ever stand a heavy sea. Vessels of such pro- 
portions were thought to be crank, and even danger- 
ous. Nevertheless, she seemed to my mind a great 
success. From that time I began to think and work 


out the advantages and disadvantages of such a vessel, 
from an owner's as well as from a builder's point of 
view. The result was greatly in favor of the owner, 
though entailing difficulties in construction as regards 
the builder. These difficulties, however, I thought, 
might easily be overcome. 

In the first steamers ordered of me by the Messrs. 
Bibby, I thought it more prudent to simply build to 

Shipbuilding in 

the dimensions furnished, although they were even 
longer than usual. But, prior to the precise dimen- 
sions being fixed for the second order, I with confi- 
dence proposed my theory of the greater carrying 
power and accommodation, both for cargo and pas- 
sengers, that would be gained by constructing the 
new vessels of increased length, without any increase 
of beam, I conceived that they would show improved 
qualities in a sea-way, and that, notwithstanding the 
increased accommodation, the same speed, with the 
same power, would be obtained, by only a slight in- 
crease in the first cost. The result was that I was 
allowed to settle the dimensions, and the following 

7 O 

were then decided on: Length, three hundred and ten 
feet; beam, thirty-four feet ; depth of hold, twenty- 
four feet nine inches ? all of which were fully com- 
pensated for by making the upper deck entirely of 

In this way the hull of the ship was converted into 
a box-girder of immensely increased strength, and was, 
I believe, the first ocean steamer ever so constructed. 
The rig, too, was unique. The four masts were made 
of one height, with fore-and-aft sails, but no yards, 
thereby reducing the number of hands necessary to 
work them. And the steam-winches were so arranged 
as to be serviceable for all the heavy hauls, as well as 
for the rapid handling of the cargo. 

In the introduction of so many novelties I was well 
supported by Mr. F. Leyland, the junior partner of 
Messrs. Bibby's firm, and by the intelligent and prac- 
tical experience of Captain Birch, the overlooker, 
and Captain George AVakeham, the commodore of 
the company. Unsuccessful attempts had been made, 
many years before, to condense the steam from the 
engines by passing it into variously formed chambers, 
tubes, etc., to be there condensed by surfaces kept 

Messrs. Bibby of Liverpool. 803 

cold by the circulation of sea-water round them, so as 
to preserve the pure water, and return it to the boil- 
ers free of salt. In this way " salting up " was avoid- 
ed, and a considerable saving of fuel and expenses in 
repairs was effected. Mr. Spencer had patented an 
improvement* on Hall's method of surface condensa- 
tion, by introducing india-rubber rings at each end of 
the tubes. This had been tried as an experiment on 
shore, and we advised that it should be adopted in one 
of Messrs. Bibby's smallest steamers, the Frankfort. 
The results were found perfectly satisfactory. Some 
twenty per cent, of fuel was saved; and, after the pat- 
ent-right had been bought, the method was adopted 
in all the vessels of the company. 

When these new ships were first seen at Liverpool, 
the " old salts " held up their hands. They were too 
long ! they were too sharp ! they would break their 
backs ! They might, indeed, get out of the Mersey, 
but they would never get back ! The ships, however, 
sailed, and they made rapid and prosperous voyages 
to and from the Mediterranean. They fulfilled all the 
promises which had been made. They proved the ad- 
vantages of our new build of ships, and the owners 
were perfectly satisfied with their superior strength, 
speed, and accommodation. The Bibbys were wise 
men in their day and generation. They did not stop, 
but went on ordering more ships. After the Grecian 
and the Italian had made two or three voyages to Al- 
exandria, they sent us an order for three more vessels. 
By our advice they were made twenty feet longer 
than the previous ones, though of no greater beam; 
in other respects they were almost identical. This 
was too much for " Jack." " What !" he exclaimed, 
"more Bibby's coffins?" Yes, more and more; and, 
in the course of time, most ship-owners followed our 

304: Ship-building in Belfast. 

To a young firm a repetition of orders like these 
was a great advantage, not only because of the novel 
design of the ships, but also because of their construct- 
ive details. We did our best to fit up the Egyptian, 
Dalmatian, and Arabian as first-rate vessels ; those 
engaged in the Mediterranean trade finding them to 
be serious rivals, partly because of the great cargoes 
which they carried, but principally from the regular- 
ity with which they made their voyages with such 
surprisingly small consumption of coal. They were 
not, however, what " Jack' : had been accustomed to 
consider "dry ships." The ship built Dutchman-fash- 
ion, with her bluff ends, is the driest of all ships, but 
the least steady, because she rises to every sea. But 
the new ships, because of their length and sharpness, 
precluded this; for, though they rose sufficiently to an 
approaching wave for all purposes of safety, they often 
went through the crest of it, and, though shipping a 
little water, it was not only easier for the vessel, but 
the shortest road. 

Nature seems to have furnished us with the finest 
design for a vessel in the form of tliefisli: it presents 
such fine lines, is. so clean, so true, and so rapid in its 
movements. The ship, however, must float ; and to 
hit upon the happy medium of velocity and stability 
seems to me the art and mystery of ship-building. In 
order to give large carrying capacity, we gave flatness 
of bottom and squareness of bilge. This became known 
in Liverpool as the " Belfast bottom," and it has been 
generally adopted. This form not only serves to give 
stability, but also increases the carrying power with- 
out lessening the speed. 

While Sailor Jack and our many commercial rivals 
stood aghast and wondered, our friends gave us yet 
another order for a still longer ship, with still the 
same beam and power. The vessel was named the 

Increasing Length of Vessels. 305 

Persian she was three hundred and sixty feet long, 
thirty-four feet beam, twenty-four feet nine inches 
hold. More cargo was thus carried, at higher speed. 
It was only a further development of the fish form of 
structure. Venice was an important port to call at. 
The channel was difficult to navigate, and the Vene- 
tian class (two hundred and seventy feet long) was 
supposed to be the extreme length that could be han- 
dled there. But what with the straight stem by 
cutting the forefoot away and by the introduction 
of powerful steering-gear, worked amidships, the cap- 
tain was able to navigate the Persian, ninety feet 
longer than the Venetian, with much less anxiety and 

Until the building of the Persian, we had taken 
great pride in the modelling and finish of the old style 
of cutwater and figurehead, with bowsprit and jib- 
boom; but, in urging the advantages of greater length 
of hull, we were met by the fact of its being simply 
impossible, in certain docks, to swing vessels of any 
greater length than those already constructed. Not 
to be beaten, we proposed to do away with all these 
overhanging encumbrances, and to adopt a perpendic- 
ular stem. In this way the hull might be made so 
much longer; and this was, I believe, the first occasion 
of its being adopted in England in the case of an 
ocean steamer, though the once - celebrated Collins 
Line of paddle steamers had, I believe, such stems. 
The iron decks, iron bulwarks, and iron rails were all 
found very serviceable in our later vessels, there be- 
ing no leaking, no calking of deck -planks or water- 
ways, nor any consequent damaging of cargo. Having 
found it impossible to combine satisfactorily wood 
with iron, each being so differently affected by tem- 
perature and moisture, I secured some of these novel- 
ties of construction in a patent, by which filling in the 

30G Ship-building in Belfast. 

spaces between frames, etc., with Portland cement, in- 
stead of chocks of wood, and covering the iron plates 
with cement and tiles, came into practice, and this has 
since come into very general use. 

The Tiber, already referred to, was two hundred and 
thirty-five feet in length when first constructed by 
Read, of Glasgow, and was then thought too lon^i 

' O ' O O ' 

but she was now placed in our hands to be lengthened 
thirty-nine feet, as well as to have an iron deck added, 
both of which greatly improved her. We also length- 
ened the Messrs. Bibby's Calpe also built by Messrs. 
Thomson while I was there by no less than ninety- 
three feet. The advantage of lengthening ships, re- 
taining the same beam and power, having become gen- 
erally recognized, we were intrusted by the Cunard 
Company to lengthen the Heda, Olympus, Atlas, and 
Marathon, each by sixty-three feet. The Royal Con- 
sort P.S., w r hich had been lengthened first at Liverpool, 
was again lengthened by us at Belfast. 

The success of all this heavy work, executed for suc- 
cessful owners, put a sort of backbone into the Belfast 
ship-building yard. While other concerns were slack, 
we were either lengthening or building steamers, as 

O O O 

well as sailing-ships, for firms in Liverpool, London, 
and Belfast. Many acres of ground were added to the 
works. The Harbor Commissioners had now made a 
fine new graving-dock, and connected the Queen's Isl- 
and with the mainland. The yard, thus improved and 
extended, was surveyed by the Admiralty, and placed 
on the first-class list. We afterwards built for the 
government the gun-vessels Lynx and Algerine, as well 
as the store and torpedo ship Heda, of three thousand 
three hundred and sixty tons. 

The Suez Canal being now open, our friends, the 
Messrs. Bibby, gave us an order for three steamers of 
very large tonnage, capable of being adapted for trade 

Ships for fiibbi/s Firm. 307 

with the antipodes, if necessary. In these new vessels 
there was no retrograde step as regards length, for 
they were three hundred and ninety feet keel by thir- 
ty-seven feet beam, square-rigged on three of the masts, 
with the yards for the first time fitted on travellers, so 
as to enable them to be readily sent down; thus form- 
ing a unique combination of big fore-and-aft sails with 
handy square sails. These ships were named the Is- 
trian, Iberian, and Hlyrian, and in 1868 they went to 
sea, soon after to be followed by three more ships 
the bavarian, Bohemian, and Bulgarian in most 
respects the same, though ten feet longer, with the 
same beam. They were first placed in the Mediterra- 
nean trade, but were afterwards transferred to the 
Liverpool and Boston trade, for cattle and emigrants. 
These, with three smaller steamers for the Spanish 
cattle trade, and two larger steamers for other trades, 


made together twenty steam-vessels constructed for 
the Messrs. James Bibby & Co.'s firm; and it was a 
matter of congratulation that, after a great deal of 
heavy and constant work, not one of them had ex- 
hibited the slightest indication of weakness, all con- 
tinuing in first-rate working order. 

The speedy and economic working of the Belfast 
steamers, compared with those of the ordinary type, 
having now become well known, a scheme was set on 
foot, in 1869, for employing similar vessels, though of 
larger size, for passenger and goods accommodation 
between England and America. Mr. T. H. Ismay, of 
Liverpool, the spirited ship-owner, then formed, in con- 
junction with the late Mr. G. II. Fletcher, the Oceanic 
Steam Navigation Company, Limited, and we were 
commissioned by them to build six large transatlantic 
steamers, capable of carrying a heavy cargo of goods, 
as well as a full complement of cabin and steerage pas- 
sengers, between Liverpool and New York, at a speed 

308 SMp-luild'tny in U el fast. 

equal, if not superior, to that of the Cunard and Inman 
line-. The vessels were to be longer than any we had 
yet constructed, being four hundred feet keel and for- 
ty-one feet beam, with thirty-two feet hold. 

This was a great opportunity, and we eagerly em- 
braced it. The w r orks were now up to the mark in 
point of extent and appliances. The men in our em- 
ployment were mostly of our own training; the fore- 
men had been promoted from the ranks ; the manager, 
Mr. AY. A. "Wilson, and the head draughtsman, Mr. AY '. 
J. Perrie (since become partners), having, as pupils, 
worked up through all the departments, and ultimately 
won their honorable and responsible positions by dint 
of merit only; by character, perseverance, and ability. 
We were, therefore, in a position to take up an impor- 
tant contract of this kind, and to work it out with 
heart and soul. 

As everything in the way of saving of fuel was of 
first -rate importance, we devoted ourselves to that 
branch of economic working. It was necessary that 
buoyancy or space should be left for cargo, at the 
same time that increased speed should be secured, with 
as little consumption of coal as possible. The Messrs. 
Elder & Co., of Glasgow, had made great strides in 
this direction with the paddle steam-engines which 
they had constructed for the Pacific Company on the 
compound principle. They had also introduced them 
on some of their screw steamers, with more or less suc- 
cess. Others were trying the same principle in vari- 
ous forms, by the use of high-pressure cylinders, and 
so on, the form of the boilers being varied according to 
circumstances, for the proper economy of fuel. The 
first thing absolutely wanted was, perfectly reliable 
information as to the actual state of the compound en- 
gine and boiler up to the date of our inquiry. To 
ascertain the facts by experience, we despatched Mr. 

Improved Accommodations. 309 

Alexander Wilson, younger brother of the manager 
who had been formerly a pupil of Messrs. Macnab & 
Co., of Greenock, and was thoroughly able for the 
work to make a number of voyages in steam-vessels 
fitted with the best examples of compound engines. 

The result of this careful inquiry was the design of 
the machinery and boilers of the Oceanic and five sis- 
ter ships. They were constructed on the vertical over- 
head " tandem " type, with five-feet stroke (at that 
time thought excessive), oval, single-ended transverse 
boilers, with a working pressure of sixty pounds. "We 
contracted with Messrs. Maudslay, Sons, & Field, of 
London, for three of these sets, and with Messrs. George 
Forrester & Co., of Liverpool, for the other three; and 
as we found we could build the six vessels in the same 
time as the machinery was being constructed, and as 
all this machinery had to be conveyed to Belfast to be 
there fitted on board, while the vessels were being oth- 
erwise finished, we built a little screw-steamer, the 
Camel, of extra strength, with very big hatchways, to 
receive these large masses of iron; and this, in course 
of time, was found to Avork with great advantage, un- 
til, eventually, we constructed our own machinery. 

We were most fortunate in the type of engine we 
had fixed upon, for it proved both economical and ser- 
viceable in all ways ; and, with but slight modifica- 
tions, we repeated it in the many subsequent vessels 
which we built for the White Star Company. An- 
other feature of novelty in these vessels consisted in 
placing the first-class accommodation amidships, with 
the third-class aft and forward. In all previous ocean- 
steamers the cabin passengers had been berthed near 
the stern, where the heaving motion of the vessel was 
far greater than in the centre, and where that most 
disagreeable vibration inseparable from proximity to 
the propeller was ever present. The unappetizing 

310 Shipbuilding in Belfast. 

s from the c^allev were also avoided. And last, 


but not least, a commodious smoking-saloon was fitted 
up amidships, contrasting most favorably with the 
scanty accommodation provided in other vessels. The 
saloon, too, presented the novelty of extending the full 
width of the vessel, and was lighted from each side. 
Electric bells were for the first time fitted on board 
ship. The saloon and entire range of cabins were 
lighted by gas made on board, though this has since 
given place to the incandescent electric light. A fine 
promenade deck was provided over the saloon, which 
was accessible from below in all weathers by the grand 

These and other arrangements greatly promoted 
the comfort and convenience of the cabin passengers, 
while those in the steerage found great improvements in 
convenience, sanitation, and accommodation. "Jack" 
had his forecastle well ventilated and lighted, and a 
turtle-back over his head when on deck, with winches 
to haul for him, and a steam-engine to work the wheel, 
while the engineers and firemen berthed as near their 
work as possible, never needing to wet a jacket or miss 
a meal. In short, for the first time perhaps, ocean- 
voyaging, even in the North Atlantic, was made not 
only less tedious and dreadful to all, but was rendered 
enjoyable and even delightful to many. Before the 
Oceanic, the pioneer of the new line, was launched, 
rival companies had already consigned her to the deep- 
est place in the ocean. Her first appearance in Liver- 
pool was, therefore, regarded with much interest. Mr. 
Ismay, durino- the construction of the vessel, took everv 

V * / 

pains to suggest improvements and arrangements with 
a view to the comfort and convenience of the travel- 
ling public. He accompanied the vessel on her first 
voyage to New York, in March, 1871, under command 
of Captain, now Sir Digby, Murray, Bart. Although 

The White Star Lines. 311 

severe weather was experienced, the ship made a splen- 
did voyage, with a heavy cargo of goods and passen- 
gers. The Oceanic thus started the transatlantic traf- 
fic of the company, with the house-flag of the White 
Star proudly flying the main. 

It may be mentioned that the speed of the Oceanic 
was at least a knot faster per hour than had been here- 
tofore accomplished across the Atlantic. The motion 
of the vessel was easy, without any indication of weak- 
ness or straining, even in the heaviest weather. The 
only inducement to slow was when going head to it 
(which often meant head through it), to avoid the in- 
convenience of shipping a heavy body of " green sea" 
on deck forward. A turtle-back was therefore pro- 
vided to throw it on , which proved so satisfactory, as 
it had done on the Holvhead and Kingston boats, that 

%> o 

all the subsequent vessels were similarly constructed. 
Thus, then, as with the machinery, so was the hull of the 
Oceanic, a type of the succeeding vessels which, after 
intervals of a few months, took up their stations on 
the transatlantic line. 

Having often observed, when at sea in heavy weath- 
er, how the pitching of the vessel caused the weights 
on the safety-valves to act irregularly, thus letting 
puffs of steam escape at every heave, and as high-pres- 
sure steam was too valuable a commodity to be so 
wasted, we determined to try direct - acting spiral 
springs, similar to those used in locomotives in con- 
nection with the compound engine. But as no such 
experiment was possible in any vessels requiring the 
Board of Trade certificate, the alternative of using; the 


Camel as an experimental vessel was adopted. The 
spiral springs were accordingly fitted upon the boiler 
of that vessel, and with such a satisfactory result that 
the Board of Trade allowed the use of the same con- 
trivance on all the boilers of the Oceanic and every 

312 Ship-building in Belfast. 

subsequent steamer, and the contrivance has now come 
into general use. 

It would be too tedious to mention in detail the 
other ships built for the "White Star line. The Adri- 
atic and Baltic were made thirty-seven feet six inches 
longer than the Oceanic, and a little sharper, being 
four hundred and thirty-seven feet six inches keel, 
forty-one feet beam, and thirty-two feet hold. The 
success of the company had been so great under the 
able management of Ismay, Imrie, & Co., and they 
had secured so large a share of the passengers and 
cargo, as well as of the mails, passing between Liver- 
pool and New York, that it was found necessary to 
build two still larger and faster vessels, the Britannic 
and Germanic; these were four hundred and fifty-five 
feet in length, forty-five feet in beam, and of five thou- 
sand indicated horse-power. The Britannic was, in 
the first instance, constructed with the propeller fitted 
to work below the line of keel when in deep water, by 
which means the " racing " of the engines was avoid- 
ed. When approaching shallow water, the propeller 
was raised by steam-power to the ordinary position 
without any necessity for stopping the engines during 
the operation. Although there was an increase of 
speed by this means, through the uniform revolutions 
of the machinery in the heaviest sea, yet there was an 
objectionable amount of vibration at certain parts of 
the vessel, so that we found it necessary to return to 
the ordinary fixed propeller, working in the line of di- 
rection of the vessel. Comfort at sea is of even more 
importance than speed; and although we had succeed- 
ed in four small steamers working on the new princi- 
ple, it was found better to continue in the larger ships 
to resort to the established modes of propulsion. It 
may happen that, at some future period, the new meth- 
od may yet be adopted with complete success. 

Accident to the Wolf. 313 

Meanwhile competition went on with other compa- 
nies. Monopoly cannot exist between England and 
America. Our plans were followed, and sharper boats 
and heavier power became the rule of the day. But 
increase of horse-power of engines means increase of 
heating surface and largely increased boilers, when 
we reach the vanishing-point of profit, after which 
there is nothing left but speed and expense. It may 
be possible to fill a ship with boilers, and to save a 
few hours in the passage from Liverpool to New York 
by a tremendous expenditure of coal ; but whether 
that will answer the purpose of any body of share- 
holders must be left for the future to determine. 
" Brute force " may be still further employed. It is 
quite possible that recent " large strides ' : towards a 
more speedy transit across the Atlantic may have been 
made "in the dark." 

The last ships we have constructed for Ismay, Imrie, 
& Co. have been of comparatively moderate dimen- 
sions and power the Arabic and Coptic, four hundred 
and thirty feet long, and the Tonic and Doric, four hun- 
dred and forty feet long, all of two thousand seven 
hundred indicated horse-power. These are large cargo 
steamers, with a moderate amount of saloon accommo- 
dation, and a large space for emigrants. Some of 
these are now engaged in crossing the Pacific, while 
others are engaged in the line from London to New 
Zealand, the latter being specially fitted up for carry- 
ing frozen meat. 

To return to the operations of the Belfast ship- 
building yard. A serious accident occurred in the 
autumn of 1867 to the mail paddle steamer, the Wolf, 
belonging to the Messrs. Burns, of Glasgow. When 
passing out of the Lough, about eight miles from Bel- 
fast, she was run into by another steamer. She was 
cut down and sunk, and there she lay in about seven 


314: Shipbuilding in Belfast. 


fathoms of water, the top of her funnel and masts be- 
ing only visible at low tide. She was in a dangerous 
position for all vessels navigating the entrance to the 
port, and it was necessary that she should be removed, 
either by dynamite, gunpowder, or some other process. 
Divers were sent down to examine the ship, and the 
injury done to her being found to be slight, the own- 
ers conferred with us as to the possibility of lifting 
her and bringing her into port. Though such a process 
had never before been accomplished, yet, knowing her 
structure well, and finding that we might rely upon 
smooth water for about a week or two in summer, we 
determined to do what we could to lift the sunken ves- 
sel to the surface. 

We calculated the probable weight of the vessel, 
and had a number of air-tanks expressly built for her 
floatation. These were secured to the ship with chains 
and hooks, the latter being inserted through the side- 
lights in her sheer strake. Early in the following 
summer everything was ready. The air-tanks were 
prepared and rafted together. Powerful screws were 
attached to each chain, with hand-pumps for emptying 
the tanks, together with a steam tender fitted with 
cooking appliances, berths, and stores for all hands en- 
gaged in the enterprise. We succeeded in attaching 
the hooks and chains by means of divers, the chains 
being ready coiled on deck. But the weather, which 
before seemed to be settled, now gave way. No soon- 
er had we got the pair of big tanks secured to the after 
body than a fierce north-northeasterly gale set in, and 
we had to run for it, leaving the tanks partly filled, in 
order to lessen the strain on everything. 

When the gale had settled we 'returned again, and 
found that no harm had been done. The remainder of 
the hooks w r ere properly attached to the rest of the 
tanks, the chains were screwed tightly up, and the 

Raising the " Wolf." 315 

tanks were pumped clear. Then the tide rose, and 
before high water we had the great satisfaction of get- 
ting the body of the vessel under way, and towing her 
about a cable's length from her old bed. At each 
tide's work she was lifted higher and higher, and 
towed into shallower water towards Belfast, until at 
length we had her, after eight days, safely in the har- 
bor, ready to enter the graving dock ; not more ready, 
however, than we all were for our beds, for we had 
neither undressed nor shaved during that anxious time. 
Indeed, our friends scarcely recognized us on our re- 
turn home. 

The result of the enterprise was this. The clean 
cut made into the bow of the ship by the collision was 
soon repaired. The crop of oysters with which she 
was incrusted gave place to the scraper and the paint- 
brush. The Wolf c.ame out of the dock to the satis- 
faction both of the owners and underwriters, and she 
was soon "ready for the road," nothing the worse for 
her ten months' immersion.* 

Meanwhile the building of new iron ships went on 
at Queen's Island. We were employed by another 
Liverpool company the British Shipowners' Compa- 
ny, Limited to supply some large steamers. The 
British Empire, of three thousand three hundred and 
sixty-one gross tonnage, was the same class of vessel 
as those of the White Star line, but fuller, being in- 
tended for cargo. Though originally intended for the 
Eastern trade, this vessel was eventually placed on 
the Liverpool and Philadelphia line, and her working 
proved so satisfactory that five more vessels were or- 

* A full account is given in the Illustrated London News of the 
21st of October, 18G8, with illustrations, of the raising of the Wolf; 
and another, more scientific, is given in the Engineer of the IGth of 
October of the same year. 

316 Ship-building in Belfast. 

, like her, which were chartered to the American 

The Liverpool agents, Messrs. Richardson, Spence, 
& Co., having purchased the Cunard steamer Russia, 
sent her over to us to be lengthened seventy feet, and 
entirely refitted another proof of the rapid change 
which owners of merchant-ships now found it neces- 
sary to adopt in view of the requirements of modern 

Another Liverpool firm, the Messrs. T. & J. Brock- 
lebank, of world-wide repute for their fine East-India- 
men, having given up building for themselves at their 
yard at Whitehaven, commissioned us to build for 
them the Alexandria and Baroda, which were shortly 
followed by the Candahar and Tenasserim. And, 
continuing to have a faith in the future of big iron 
sailing-ships, they further employed us to build for 
them two of yet greater tonnage, the Belfast and the 

Indeed, there is a future for sailing-ships, notwith- 
standing the recent development of steam - power. 
Sailing-ships can still hold their own, especially in the 
transport of heavy merchandise for great distances. 
They can be built more cheaply than steamers ; they 
can be worked more economically, because they re- 
quire no expenditure on coal, nor on wages of engi- 
neers; besides, the space occupied in steamers by ma- 
chinery is entirely occupied by merchandise, all of 
which pays its quota of freight. Another thing may 
be mentioned ; the telegraph enables the fact of the 
sailing of a vessel, with its cargo on board, to be com- 
municated from Calcutta or San Francisco to Liver- 
pool, and from that moment the cargo becomes as 
marketable as if it were on the spot. There are cases, 
indeed, where the freight by sailing-ship is even great- 
er than by steamer, as the charge for warehousing at 

Steel and Iron Sailing-ships. 317 

home is saved, and in the meantime the cargo while at 
sea is negotiable. 

We have, accordingly, during the last few years, 
built some of the largest iron and steel sailing-ships 
that have ever gone to sea. The aim has been to give 
them great carrying capacity and fair speed, with econ- 
omy of working; and the use of steel, both in the hull 
and the rigging, facilitates the attainment of these ob- 
jects. In 1882 and 1883 we built and launched four 
of these steel and iron sailing-ships the Walter H. 
Wilson, the TK J. Pirrie, the Fingal, and the Lord 
Wolseley each of nearly three thousand tons' regis- 
ter, with four masts the owners being Mr. Lawther, 
of Belfast, Mr. Martin, of Dublin, and the Irish Ship- 
owners' Company. 

Besides these and other sailing-ships, Ave have built, 
for Messrs. Ismay, Imrie, & Co., the Garfield, of two 
thousand three hundred and forty -seven registered 
tonnage; for Messrs. Thomas Dixon & Son, the Lord 
Downshire, two thousand three hundred and twenty- 
two ; and for Messrs. Bullock's Bay Line, the Bay of 
Panama, two thousand three hundred and sixty-five. 

In 1880 we took in another piece of the land reclaimed 
by the Belfast Harbor Trust; and there, in close prox- 
imity to the shipyard, we manufacture all the machin- 
ery required for the service of the steamers constructed 
by our firm. In this way we are able to do every- 
thing "within ourselves;" and the whole land now oc- 
cupied by the works comprises about forty acres, with 
ten building-slips suitable for the largest vessels. 

It remains for me to mention a Belfast firm which 
has done much for the town. I mean the Messrs. 
J. P. Corry & Co., who have always been among our 
best friends. We built for them their first iron sail- 
ing-vessel, the Jane Porter, in 1860, and since then they 
have never failed us. They successfully established 

318 SMpJmildwig in 

their ''Star'' line of sailing-clippers from London to 
Calcutta, all of which were built here. They subse- 
quently gave us orders for yet larger vessels, in tin 
>/"'// nf France and the fctur of Italy. In all, we have 
built for that firm eleven of their well-known "Star' : 

We have built five ships for the Asiatic Steam Xav- 
igation Company, Limited, each of from one thousand 
six hundred and fifty to two thousand and fifty-nine 
tons gross ; and we are now building for them two 
ships, each of about three thousand tons gross. In 
1883 we launched thirteen iron and steel vessels, of a 
registered tonnage of over thirty thousand tons. Out 
of eleven ships now building seven are of steel. 

Such is a brief and summary account of the means 


by which we have been enabled to establish a new 
branch of industry in Belfast. It has been accom- 


plished simply by energy and hard work. We have 
been well supported by the skilled labor of our arti- 
sans; we have been backed by the capital and the en- 
terprise of England; and we believe that if all true 
patriots would go and do likewise there would be 
nothing to fear for the prosperity and success of Ire- 





"I first learned to read when the masons were at work in your 
house. I approached them one day, and observed that the architect 
used a rule and compass, and that he made calculations. I inquired 
what might be the meaning and use of these things, and I was in- 
formed that there was a science called arithmetic. I purchased a 
book of arithmetic, and I learned it. I was told there was another 
science called geometry ; I bought the necessary books, and I learned 
geometry. By reading I found there were good books in these two 
sciences in Latin; I bought a dictionary, and I learned Latin. I un- 
derstood, also, that there were good books of the same kind in French ; 
I bought a dictionary, and I learned French. It seems to me that 
one does not need to know anything more than the twenty-four letters 
to learn everything else that one wishes." Edmund Stone to the 
Duke of Argyll ("Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties"). 

"The British census proper reckons twenty-seven and a half mill- 
ions in the home countries. What makes this census important is the 
quality of the units that compose it. They are free, forcible men, in 
a country where life is safe, and has reached the greatest value. They 
give the bias to the current age ; and that not by chance or by mass, 
but by their character, and by the number of individuals among them 
of personal ability." EMERSON : ' ' English Traits." 

FROM Belfast to the Highlands of Scotland is an 
easy route by steamers and railways. While at Bir- 
nam, near Dunkeld, I was reminded of some remarka- 
ble characters in the neighborhood. After the publi- 
cation of the "Scotch Naturalist " and "Robert Dick," 
I received numerous letters informing me of many 
self-taught botanists and students of nature, quite as 

320 Astronomers and /Students. 

interesting as the subjects of my memoirs. Among 
others there was Edward Duncan, the botanist weaver 
of Aberdeen, whose interesting life lias since been done 
justice to by Mr. Jolly, and John Sim, of Perth, first 
a shepherd boy, then a soldier, and towards the close 
of his life a poet and a botanist, whose life, I was told, 
was "as interesting as a romance." 

There was, also, Alexander Croall, Custodian of the 
Smith Institute, at Stirling, an admirable naturalist 
and botanist. He was originally a hard-working par- 
ish schoolmaster near Montrose. During his holiday 
wanderings he collected plants for his extensive her- 
barium. His accomplishments having corne under the 
notice of the late Sir William Hooker, he was selected 
by that gentleman to prepare sets of the Plants of 
Braemar for the queen and Prince Albert, which he 
did to their entire satisfaction. He gave up his school- 
mastership for an ill-paid but more congenial occupa- 
tion, that of librarian to the Derby Museum and Her- 
barium. Some years ago he was appointed to his pres- 
ent position of Custodian to the Smith Institute, perhaps 
the best provincial museum and art gallery in Scotland. 

I could not, however, enter into the history of these 
remarkable persons, though I understand there is a 
probability of Mr. Croall giving his scientific recol- 
lections to the world. He has already brought out a 
beautiful work, in four volumes, "British Seaweeds, 
Nature-printed," and anything connected with his bi- 
ography will be looked forward to with interest. 

Among the other persons brought to my notice years 
ago were astronomers in humble life. For instance, I 
received a letter from John Grierson, keeper of the 
Girdleness Lighthouse, near Aberdeen, mentioning one 
of these persons as " an extraordinary character." 
"William Ballingall," he said, "is a weaver in the 
town of Lower Largo, Fifeshire, and from his early 

John Robertson. 321 

days he has made astronomy the subject of passionate 
study. I used to spend my school vacation at Largo, 
and have frequently heard him expound upon his fa- 
vorite subject. I believe that very high opinions have 
been expressed by scientific gentlemen regarding Bal- 
lingall's attainments. They were no doubt surprised 
that an individual with but a very limited amount of 
education, and whose hours of labor were from five in 
the morning until ten or eleven at night, should be able 
to acquire so much knowledge on so profound a sub- 
ject. Had he possessed a fair amount of education, 
and an assortment of scientific instruments and books, 
the world would have heard more about him. Should 
you ever find yourself," my correspondent concludes, 
"in his neighborhood, and have a few hours to spare, 
you would have no reason to regret the time spent in 
his company." I could not, however, arrange to pay 
the proposed visit to Largo, but I found that I could, 
without inconvenience, visit another astronomer in the 
neighborhood of Dunkeld. 

In January, 1879, I received a letter from Sheriff 
Barclay, of Perth, to the following effect: "Knowing 
the deep interest you take in genius and merit in hum- 
ble ranks, I beg to state to you an extraordinary case. 
John Robertson is a railway porter at Coupar Angus 
station. From early youth he has made the heavens 
his study. Night after night he looks above, and from 
his small earnings he has provided himself with a tele- 
scope which cost him about 30. He sends notices of 
his observations to the scientific journals under the 
modest initials of " J. R." He is a great favorite with 
the public, and it is said that he has made some obser- 
vations in celestial phenomena not before noticed. 
It does occur to me that he should have a wider field 
for his favorite study. In connection with an observa- 
tory his services would be invaluable." 


322 Astronomers and Students. 

Nearly live years had elapsed since the receipt of 
this letter, and I had done nothing to put myself in 
communication with the Coupar Angus astronomer. 
Strange to say, his existence was again recalled to my 
notice by Professor Grainger Stewart, of Edinburgh. 
He said that if I was in the neighborhood I ought to 
call upon him, and that he would receive me kindly. 
His duty, he said, was to act as porter at the station, 
and to shout the name of the place as the trains passed. 
I wrote to John Robertson accordingly, and received 
a reply stating that he would be glad to see me, and 
enclosing a photograph, in which I recognized a good, 
honest, sensible face, with his person enclosed in the 
usual station porter's garb, "C.R. 1446." 

I started from Dimkeld, and reached Coupar Angus 
in due time. As I approached the station, I heard the 
porter calling out " Coupar Angus ! change here for 
Blairgowrie!"* It was the voice of John Robertson. 
I descended from the train, and addressed him at once; 
after the photograph there could be no mistaking him. 

* A "poet" who dates from "New York, March, 1883," has pub- 
lished seven stanzas, entitled "Change here for Blairgowrie," from 
which we take the following : 

"From early morn till late at e'en 


John's honest face is to be seen, 
Bustling about the trains between, 

Be 't sunshine or be 't showery ; 
And as each one stops at his door, 
He greets it with the well-known roar 

Of ' Change here for Blairgowrie.' 

"Even when the still and drowsy night 
Has drawn the curtains of our sight, 
John's watchful eyes become more bright, 

And take another glow'r aye 
Through yon blue dome of sparkling stars, 
Where Venus bright and ruddy Mars 

Shine down upon Blairgowrie. 

Lectures ly Dr. Dick. 323 

An arrangement for a meeting was made, and he called 
upon me in the evening. I invited him to such hospi- 
tality as the inn afforded, but he would have nothing. 
"I am much obliged to you," he said; "but it always 
does me harm." I knew at once what the " it " meant. 
Then he invited me to his house in Causewayend Street. 
I found his cottage clean and comfortable, presided over 
by an evidently clever wife. He took me into his sit- 
ting-room, where I inspected his drawings of the sun- 
spots, made in color on a large scale. In all his state- 
ments he was perfectly modest and unpretending. The 
following is his story, so far as I can recollect, in his 
own words: 

" Yes, I certainly take a great interest in astronomy, 
but I have done nothing in it worthy of notice. I am 
scarcely worthy to be called a day-laborer in the sci- 
ence. I am very well known hereabouts, especially to 
the travelling public; but I must say that they think 
a great deal more of me than I deserve. 

"What made me first devote my attention to the 
subject of astronomy ? Well, if I can trace it to one 
thing more than another, it was to some evening lect- 
ures delivered by the late Dr. Dick, of Broughty Fer- 
ry, to the men employed at the Craigs' Bleachfield 
Works, near Montrose, where I then worked, about 
the year 1848. Dr. Dick was an excellent lecturer, 
and I listened to him with attention. His instructions 
were fully impressed upon our minds by Mr. Cooper, 
the teacher of the evening school, which I attended. 

" He kens each jinkin' comet's track, 
And when it's likely to come back, 
When they have tails, and when they lack 

In heaven the waggish power aye ; 
When Jupiter's belt-buckle hings, 
And the Pyx mark on Saturn's rings, 
He sees from near Blairgowrie." 

324: Astronomers and Students. 

After giving the young lads employed at the works 
their lessons in arithmetic, he would come out with us 
into the night and it was generally late when we sep- 
arated and show us the principal constellations and 
the planets above the horizon. It was a wonderful 
sight; yet we were told that these hundreds upon hun- 
dreds of stars, as far as the eye could see, w r ere but a 
mere vestige of the creation amid which we lived. I 
got to know the names of some of the constellations 
the Greater Bear, with ' the pointers ' which pointed 
to the Pole Star, Orion with his belt, the Twins, the 
Pleiades, and other prominent objects in the heav- 
ens. It was a source of constant wonder and sur- 

" When I left the Bleachfield works I went to Inver- 
ary, to the North of Scotland Railway, which was then 
in course of construction, and for many years being 
immersed in work, I thought comparatively little of 
astronomy. It remained, however, a pleasant memory. 
It was only after coming to this neighborhood, in 1854, 
when the railway to Blairgowrie was under construc- 
tion, that I began to read up a little, during my leis- 
ure hours, on the subject of astronomy. I got mar- 
ried the year after, since which time I have lived in 
this house. 

" I became a member of a reading-room club, and 
read all the works of Dr. Dick that the library con- 
tained his * Treatise on the Solar System,' his ' Prac- 
tical Astronomer,' and other works. There were, also, 
some very good popular works to which I was indebt- 
ed for amusement as well as instruction Chambers's 
' Information for the People,' Cassell's ' Popular Edu- 
cator,' and a very interesting series of articles in the 
Leisure ITour, by Edwin Dunkin, of the Royal Ob- 
servatory, Greenwich. These last papers were accom- 
panied by maps of the chief constellations, so that I 

Buying a Telescope. 325 

had a renewed opportunity of becoming a little better 
acquainted with the geography of the heavens. 

" I began to have a wish for a telescope, by means 
of which I might be able to see a little more than with 
my naked eyes. But I found that I could not get any- 
thing of much use short of 20. I could not for a long 
time feel justified in spending so much money for 
my own personal enjoyment. My children were then 
young, and dependent upon me. They required to 
attend school, for education is a thing that parents 
must not neglect, with a view to the future. How- 
ever, about the year 1875, my attention was called to a 
cheap instrument advertised by Solomon what he 
called his '5 telescope.' I purchased one, and it tan- 
talized me; for the power of the instrument was such 
as to teach me nothing of the surface of the planets. 
After using it for about two years, I sold it to a stu- 
dent, and then found that I had accumulated enough 
savings to enable me to buy my present instrument. 
Will you come into the next room and look at it ?" 

I went, accordingly, into the adjoining room, and 
looked at the new telescope. It was taken from its 
case, put upon its tripod, and looked in beautiful con- 
dition. It is a refractor, made by Cooke & Sons, of 
York. The object-glass is three inches; the focal 
length forty -three inches; and the telescope, when 
drawn out, with the pancratic eye-piece attached, is 
about four feet. It was made after Mr. Robertson's 
directions, and is a sort of combination of instru- 

"Even that instrument," he proceeded, "good as it 
is for the money, tantalizes me yet. A look through a 
fixed equatorial, such as every large observatory is 
furnished with, is a glorious view. I shall never for- 
get the sight that I got when at Dunecht Observatory, 
to which I was invited through the kindness of Dr. 

326 Astronomers and Students. 

Copeland, the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres' prin- 
cipal astronomer. 

" You ask me what I have done in astronomical re- 
search. I am sorry to say I have been able to do little 
except to gratify my own curiosity; and even then, as 
I say, I have been much tantalized. I have watched 
the spots on the sun from day to clay through obscured 
glasses since the year 1878, and made many drawings 
of them. Mr. Rand Capron, the astronomer, of Guil- 
down, Guilford, desired to see these drawings, and af- 
ter expressing his satisfaction with them, he sent them 
to Mr. Christie, Astronomer Royal, Greenwich. Al- 
though photographs of the solar surface were pre- 
ferred, Mr. Capron thought that my sketches might 
supply gaps in the partially cloudy days, as w r ell as 
details which might not appear on the photographic 
plates. I received a very kind letter from Mr. Chris- 
tie, in which he said that it would be very difficult to 
make the results obtained from drawings, however ac- 
curate, at all comparable with those derived from pho- 
tographs, especially as regards the accurate size of the 
spots as compared with the diameter of the sun. And 
no doubt he is right. 

" What, do I suppose, is the cause of these spots in 
the sun ? Well, that is a very difficult question to an- 
swer. Changes are constantly going on at the sun's 
surface, or, I may rather say, in the sun's interior, and 
making themselves apparent at the surface. Some- 
times they go on with enormous activity ; at other 
times they are more quiet. They recur alternately, in 
periods of seven or eight weeks, while these again are 
also subject to a period of about eleven years that is, 
the short recurring outbursts go on for some years, 
when they attain a maximum, from which they go on 
decreasing. I may say that we are now (August, 1883) 
at, or very near, a maximum epoch. There is no doubt 

Sun-Spots. 327 

that this period has an intimate connection with our 
auroral displays ; but I don't think that the influence 
sun-spots have on light or heat is perceptible. What- 
ever influence they possess would be felt alike on the 
whole terrestrial globe. We have wet, dry, cold, and 
warm years, but they are never general. The kind of 
season which prevails in one country is often quite re- 
versed in another perhaps in the adjacent one. Not 
so with our auroral displays. They are universal on 
both sides of the globe, and from pole to pole the mag- 
netic needle trembles during their continuance. Some 
authorities are of opinion that these eleven-year cycles 
are subject to a larger cycle, but sun-spot observations 
have not existed long enough to determine this point. 
For myself, I have a great difficulty in forming an 
opinion. I have very little doubt that the spots are 
depressions on the surface of the sun. This is more 
apparent when the spot is on the limb. I have often 
seen the edge very rugged and uneven when groups 
of large spots were about to come round on the east 
side. I have communicated some of my observations 
to The Observatory, the monthly review of astrono- 
my, edited by Mr. Christie, now astronomer royal,* 
as well as to The Scotsman, and some of our local pa- 
pers, f 

* The Observatory, No. 61, p. 146, and No. 68, p. 371. 

f In an article on the subject in the Dundee Evening Telegraph, 
Mr. Robertson observes : " If our finite minds were more capable 
of comprehension, what a glorious view of the grandeur of the Deity 
would be displayed to us in the contemplation of the centre and source 
of light and heat to the solar system. The force requisite to pour 
such continuous floods to the remotest parts of the system must ever 
baffle the mind of man to grasp. But we are not to sit down in indo- 
lence ; our duty is to inquire into Nature's works, though we can 
never exhaust the field. Our minds cannot imagine motion without 
some power moving through the medium of some subordinate agency, 
ever acting on the sun, to send such floods of light and heat to our 

Astronomer* and 

"1 have also taken up tin- observation of variable 
stars in a liiuitcl portion of the heavens. That anl 
* huntiii'j; for comets' is about all the real astronomical 


f-'i'/c that an amateur can do nowadays in our climate, 
with a three-inch telescope. I am greatly indebted 
to the Earl of Crawford and Balcarrcs, who regularly 
sends me circulars of all astronomical discoveries, both 
in this and foreign countries. I will give an instance 
of the usefulness of these circulars. On the morning 
of the 4th of October, 1880, a comet was discovered by 
Ilartwig, of Strasburg, in the constellation of Corona. 
He telegraphed it to Dunecht Observatory, fifteen miles 
from Aberdeen. The circulars announcing the dis- 
covery were printed and despatched by post to various 
astronomers. My circular reached me by 7 P.M., and, 
the night being favorable, I directed my telescope upon 
the part of the heavens indicated, and found the comet 
almost at once that is, within fifteen hours of the date 
of its discovery at Strasburg. 

"In April, 1878, a large meteor was observed in 
broad daylight, passing from south to north, and fall- 
ing, it was supposed, about twenty miles south of Bal- 
later. Mr. A. S. Herschel, Professor of Physics in the 
College of Science, Newcastle-on-Tyne, published a 
letter in The /Scotsman, intimating his desire to be in- 
formed of the particulars of the meteor's flight by those 
Avho had seen it. As I was one of those who had ob- 
served the splendid meteor flash northwards almost 
under the face of the bright sun (at 10.25 A.M.), I sent 
the professor a full account of what I had seen, for 

otherwise cold and dark terrestrial ball; but it is the overwhelming 
magnitude of such power that we are incapable of comprehending. 
The agency necessary to throw out the floods of flame seen during the 
few moments of a total eclipse of the sun, and the power requisite to 
burst open a cavity in its surface such as could entirely engulf our 
earth, will ever set all the thinking capacity of m:m at nought." 

A Contented Man. 329 

which he professed his strong obligations. This led to 
a very pleasant correspondence with Professor Her- 
schel. After this I devoted considerable attention to 
meteors, and sent many contributions to The Observa- 
tory on the subject.* 

"You ask me what are the hours at which I make 
my observations ? I am due at the railway station at 
six in the mornino* and I leave at six in the evening; 

O 7 O ' 

but I have two hours during the day for meals and 
rest. Sometimes I get a glance at the heavens in the 
winter mornings when the sky is clear, hunting for 
comets. My observations on the sun are usually made 
twice a day, during my meal hours, or in the early 
morning or late at evening in summer, while the sun is 
visible. Yes, you are right; I try and make the best 
use of my time. It is much too short for all that I 
propose to do. My evenings are my own. When the 
heavens are clear, I watch them ; when obscured, there 
are my books and letters. 

" Dr. Alexander Brown, of Arbroath, is one of my 
correspondents. I have sent him my drawings of the 
rings of Saturn, of Jupiter's belt and satellites. Dr. 
Ralph Copeland, of Dunecht, is also a very good friend 
and adviser. Occasionally, too, I send accounts of solar 
disturbances, comets within sight, eclipses, and occulta- 
tions to the Scotsman, the Dundee Evening Telegraph 
and Evening News, or to the JBlairgowrie Advertiser. 
Besides, I am the local observer of meteorology, and 
communicate regularly with Mr. Symonds. These 
things entirely fill up my time. 

"Do I intend always to remain a railway porter? 
Oh, yes; I am very comfortable! The company are 
very kind to me, and I hope I serve them faithfully. 
It is true Sheriff Barclay has, without my knowledge, 

* The Observatory, Nos. 34, 42, 45, 49, and 58. 

330 Astronomers and Students. 

mo to several well-known astronomers 
as an observer. But at my time of life changes are 
not to be desired. I am quite satisfied to go on as I 
am doing. My young people are growing up, and are 
willing to work for themselves. But come, sir," he 
concluded, " come into the garden, and look at the 
moon through niy telescope." 

"NVe went into the garden accordingly, but a cloud 
was over the moon, and we could not see it. At the 
top of the garden was the self-registering barometer, 
the pitcher to measure the rainfall, and the other ap- 
paratus necessary to enable the " diagram of barome- 
ter, thermometer, rain, and wind " to be conducted, so 
far as Coupar Angus is concerned. This Mr. Robert- 
son has done for four years past. As the hour was 
late, and as I knew that my entertainer must be up by 
six next morning, I took my leave. 

A man's character often exhibits itself in his amuse- 
ments. One must have a high respect for the character 
of John Robertson, who looks at the manner in which 
he spends his spare time. His astronomical work is 
altogether a labor of love. It is his hobby; and the 
working-man may have his hobby as w r ell as the rich. 
In his case he is never less idle than when idle. Some 
may think that he is casting his bread upon the waters, 
and that he may find it after many days. But it is 
not with this object that he carries on his leisure-hour 
pursuits. Some have tried Sheriff Barclay among 
others* to obtain appointments for him in connection 
with astronomical observation; others to secure ad- 
vancement for him in his own line. But he is a man 
who is satisfied with his lot one of the rarest things 
on earth. Perhaps it is by looking so much up to the 
heavens that he has obtained his portion of contentment. 

* We regret to say that Sheriff Barclay died a few months ago, 
greatly respected by all who knew him. 

Thomas Cooke. 331 

N"ext morning I found him busy at the station, mak- 
ing arrangements for the departure of the passenger 
train for Perth, and evidently upon the best of terms 
with everybody. And here I leave John Robertson, 
the contented Coupar Angus astronomer. 

Some years ago I received from my friend Mr. 
Nasmyth a letter of introduction to the late Mr. Cooke, 
of York, while the latter was still living. I did not 
present it at the time; but I now proposed to visit, on 
my return homewards, the establishment which he had 
founded at York for the manufacture of telescopes 
and other optical instruments. Indeed, what a man may 
do for himself as well as for science cannot be better 
illustrated than by the life of this remarkable man. 

Mr. Nasmyth says that he had an account from 
Cooke himself of his small beginnings. He was orig- 
inally a shoemaker in a small country village. Many 
a man has risen to distinction from a shoemaker's seat. 
Bulwer, in his " What will He do with It ?" has dis- 
cussed the difference between shoemakers and tailors. 
The one is thrown upon his own resources, the other 
works in the company of his fellows: the one thinks, 
the other communicates. 

Cooke was a man of natural ability, and he made the 
best use of his powers. Opportunity, sooner or later, 
comes to nearly all who work and wait, and are duly 
persevering. Shoemaking was not found very pro- 
ductive; and Cooke, being fairly educated as well as 
self-educated, opened a village school. He succeeded 
tolerably well. He taught himself geometry and 
mathematics, and daily application made him more per- 
fect in his studies. In course of time an extraordinary 
ambition took possession of him: no less than the con- 
struction of a reflecting telescope of six inches' diame- 
ter. The idea would not let him rest until he had 

332 Astronomers a/nd Students. 

accomplished his purpose. lie cast and polished tin- 

speculum with great labor; but just as lie was about i> 
finish it, the easting broke. AVhat was to be done? 
About one fifth had broken away, but still there re- 
mained a large piece, which he proceeded to grind 
down to a proper diameter. His perseverance was re- 
warded by the possession of a three and a half inch 
speculum, which by his rare skill he worked into a re- 
flecting telescope of very good quality. 

He was, however, so much annoyed by the treacher- 
ously brittle nature of the speculum metal that he 
abandoned its use, and betook himself to glass. He 
found that before he could make a good achromatic 
telescope it was necessary that he should calculate his 
curves from data depending upon the nature of the 
glass. He accordingly proceeded to study the optical 
laws of refraction, in which his knowledge of geometry 
and mathematics greatly helped him. And in course 
of time, by his rare and exquisite manipulative skill, 
he succeeded in constructing a four-inch refractor, or 
achromatic telescope, of admirable defining power. 

The excellence of his first works became noised 
abroad. Astronomical observers took an interest in 
him; and friends began to gather round him, among 
others the late Professor Phillips and the Rev.Vernon 
Harcourt, Dean of York. Cooke received an order for 
a telescope like his own; then he received other orders. 
At last he gave up teaching, and took to telescope- 
making. He advanced step by step; and like a prac- 
tical, thoughtful man, he invented special tools and 
machinery for the purpose of grinding and polishing 
his glasses. He opened a shop in York, and established 
himself as a professed maker of telescopes. He added 
to this the business of a general optician, his wife at- 
tending to the sale in the shop, while he himself at- 
tended to the workshop. 

CooJce's Telescopes. 333 

Such was the excellence of his work that the demand 
for his telescopes largely increased. They were not 
only better manufactured, but greatly cheaper than 
those which had before been in common use. Three 
of the London makers had before possessed a monopoly 
of the business; but now the trade was thrown open 
by the enterprise of Cooke of York. He proceeded 
to erect a complete factory the Buckingham Street 
works. His brother took charge of the grinding and 
polishing of the lenses, while his sons attended to the 
mechanism of the workshop; but Cooke himself was 
the master spirit of the whole concern. Everything 
that he did was good and accurate. His clocks were 
about the best that could be made. He carried out 
his clock-making: business with the same zeal that he 


devoted to the perfection of his achromatic telescopes. 
His work was always first-rate. There was no scamp- 
ing about it. Everything that he did was thoroughly 
good and honest. His four-and-a-quarter-inch equa- 
torials are perfect gems; and his admirable achro- 
matics, many of them of the largest class, are known 
all over the world. Altogether, Thomas Cooke was a 
remarkable instance of the power of self-help. 

Such was the story of his life, as communicated by 
Mr. Kasmyth. I was afterwards enabled, through the 
kind assistance of his widow, Mrs. Cooke, whom I saw 
at Saltburn, in Yorkshire, to add a few particulars to 
his biography. 

" My husband," she said, " was the son of a working 
shoemaker at Pocklington, in the East Riding. He 
was born in 1807. His father's circumstances were so 
straitened that he was not able to do much for him, 
but he sent him to the national school, where he re- 
ceived some education. He remained there for about 
two years, and then he was put to his father's trade. 
But he greatly disliked shoemaking, and longed to get 

Astronomers and Students. 

away from it. lie liked the sun, the sky, and the 
air. He was eager to be a sailor, and, having heard of 
the voyages of Captain Cook, he wished to go to sea. 
He spent his spare hours in learning navigation, that 
he might be a good seaman. But when Cooke was 
ready to set out for Hull the entreaties and tears of 
his mother prevailed on him to give up the project; 
and then he had to consider what he should do to 
maintain himself at home. 

" He proceeded with his self-education, and, with 
such small aids as he could procure, he gathered to- 
gether a good deal of knowledge. He thought that 
he might be able to teach others. Everybody liked 
him for his diligence, his application, and his good 
sense. At the age of seventeen he was employed to 
teach the sons of the neighboring farmers. He suc- 
ceeded so well that, in the following year, he opened a 
village school at Beilby. He went on educating him- 
self, and learned a little of everything. He next re- 
moved his school to Kirpenbeck, near Stamford Bridge, 
and it was there," proceeded Mrs. Cooke, " that I got 
to know him, for I was one of his pupils." 

" He first learned mathematics by buying an old vol- 
ume at a bookstall with a spare shilling. That was 
before he began to teach. He also got odd sheets, and 
read other books about geometry and mathematics, 
before he could buy them, for he had very little to 
spare. He studied and learned as much as he could. 
He was very anxious to get an insight into knowledge. 
He studied optics before he had any teaching. Then 
he tried to turn his knowledge to account. While at 
Kirpenbeck he made his first object-glass out of a 
thick tumbler-bottom. He ground the glass cleverly 
by hand; then he got a piece of tin, and soldered it 
together, and mounted the object-glass in it so as to 
form a telescope. 

Economies. 335 

" He next got a situation at the Rev. Mr. Shapkley's 
school in Micklegate, York, where he taught mathe- 
matics. He also taught in ladies' schools in the city, 
and did what he could to make a little income. Our 
intimacy had increased, and we had arranged to get 
married. He was twenty-four and I was nineteen 
when we were happily united. I was then his pupil 
for life. 

" Professor Phillips saw his first telescope, with the 
object-glass made out of the thick tumbler-bottom, and 
he was so much pleased with it that my husband made 
it over to him. But he also got an order for another 
from Mr. Gray, solicitor, more by way of encourage- 
ment than because Mr. Gray wanted it, for he was a 
most kind man. The object-glass was of four-inch ap- 
erture, and when mounted the defining power was found 
excellent. My husband was so successful with his tel- 
escopes that he went on from smaller to greater, and 
at length he began to think of devoting himself to op- 
tics altogether. His knowledge of mathematics had 
led him on, and friends were always ready to encour- 
age him in his pursuits. 

"During this time he had continued his teaching at 
the school in the daytime, and he also taught, on his 
own account, the sons of gentlemen in the evening; 
among others, the sons of Dr. Wake and Dr. Belcomb, 
both medical men. He was only making about 100 
a year, and his family was increasing. It was neces- 
sary to be very economical, and I was careful of eve- 
rything. At length my uncle Milner agreed to ad- 
vance about 100 as a loan. A shop was taken in 
Stonegate in 1836, and provided with optical instru- 
ments. I attended to the shop, while my husband 
worked in the back premises. To bring in a little 
ready money, I also took in lodgers. 

"My husband now devoted himself entirely to tele- 

336 Ax/ronnmers and X 

pe-makiDg and optics. Hut In- took in oilier \\-ork. 
His pumps were considered excellent, ami he furnished 

all those used at the pump- room, I Iarn>-_rat e. His 
clocks, telescope-driving* ami others, were of the hot. 
lie commenced turret-clock making in 1 N.~)2, and made 
many improvements in them. We had by that time 
removed to Coney Street ; and in 1855 the Bucking- 
ham Works were established, where a lar^e number 

' O 

of first-rate workmen were employed. A place was 
also taken in Southampton Street, London, in 18G8, 
for the sale of the instruments manufactured at York." 
Thus far Mrs. Cooke. It may be added that Thoni- 
as Cooke revived the art of making refracting tele- 

o o 

scopes in England. Since the discovery by Dollond, in 
1758, of the relation between the refractive and dis- 
persive powers of different kinds of glass, and the in- 
vention by that distinguished optician of the achro- 
matic telescope, the manufacture of that instrument 
had been confined to England, where the best flint- 
glass was made. But, through the short-sighted pol- 
icy of the government, an exorbitant duty was placed 
upon the manufacture of flint-glass, and the English 
trade was almost entirely stamped out. We had, ac- 
cordingly, to look to foreign countries for the further 
improvement of the achromatic telescope, which Dol- 
lond had so much advanced. 

A humble mechanic of Brenetz, in the Canton of 
Neufchatel, Switzerland, named Guinaud, having di- 
rected his attention to the manufacture of flint glass 
towards the close of last century, at length succeed- 
ed, after persevering efforts, in producing masses of 
that substance perfectly free from stain, and there- 

* Sir E. Dcnison Becker, in his "Rudimentary Treatise on 
Clocks and Watches and Bells," has given an instance of the tele- 
scope-driving clock, invented In- Mr. Cooke (p. 213). 

Achromatic Telescopes. 337 

fore adapted for the construction of the object-glasses 
of telescopes. Frauenhofer, the Bavarian optician, 
having just begun business, heard of the wonderful 
success of Guinaud, and induced the Swiss mechanic 
to leave Brenetz and enter into partnership with him 
at Munich in 1805. 

The result was perfectly successful, and the new 
firm turned out some of the largest object-glasses 
which had until then been made. With one of these 
instruments, having an aperture of nine and nine-tenths 
inches, Struve, the Russian astronomer, made some of 
his greatest discoveries. Frauenhofer was succeeded 
by Merz & Mahler, who carried out his views, and 
turned out the famous refractors of Pulkowa Obser- 
vatory, in Russia, and of Harvard University, in the 
United States. These last two telescopes contained 
object-glasses of fifteen inches' aperture. 

The pernicious impost upon flint-glass having at 
length been removed by the English government, an 
opportunity was afforded to our native opticians to 
recover the supremacy which they had so long lost. 
It is to Thomas Cooke, more than to any other person, 
that we owe the recovery of this manufacture. Mr. 
Lockyer, writing in 1878, says: "The two largest and 
most perfectly mounted refractors on the German form 
at present in existence are those at Gateshead and 
Washington, D. C. The former belongs to Mr. New- 
all, a gentleman who, connected with those who were 
among the first to recognize the genius of our great 
English optician, Cooke, did not hesitate to risk thou- 
sands of pounds in one great experiment, the success 
of which will have a most important bearing upon the 
astronomy of the future."* 

* J. Norman Lockyer, F.E.S., "Stargazing, Past and Present," 
p. 302. 


338 Astronomers <in<l 

The progress which ^\Ir. Co<>ke made in his enter- 
prise was slow, but stra'ly. Shortly after lie began 
business as an optician he became dissatisfied with the 
method of hand -polishing, and made arrangements 
to polish the object-glasses by machinery worked by 
steam-power. By this means he secured perfect accu- 
racy of figure. He was also able to turn out a larije 

o o 

quantity of glares, so as to furnish astronomers in all 
parts of the world with telescopes of admirable defining 
power at a comparatively moderate price. In all his 
works he endeavored to introduce simplicity. lie left 
his mark on nearly every astronomical instrument. 
He found the equatorial comparatively clumsy ; he 
left it nearly perfect. His beautiful "dividing-ma- 
chine," for marking divisions on the circles, four feet 
in diameter, and altogether self-acting which divides 
to five minutes and reads off to five seconds is not 
the least of his triumphs. 

The following are some of his more important ach- 
romatic telescopes. In 1850, when he had been four- 
teen years in business, he furnished his earliest patron, 
Professor Phillips, with an equatorial telescope of six 
and a quarter inches' aperture. His second (of six 
and an eighth) was supplied two years later, to James 
Wigglesworth, of Wakefield. William Gray, solicitor, 
of York, one of his earliest friends, bought a six-and- 
a-half-inch telescope in 1853. In the following year 
Professor Pritchard, of Oxford, was supplied with a 
six-and-a-half-inch. The other important instruments 
were as follows: in 1854, Dr. Fisher, Liverpool, six 
inches; in 1855, H. L. Patterson, Gateshead, seven and 
a quarter inches; in 1858, J. G. Barclay, Lay ton, Essex, 
seven and a quarter inches; in 1857, Isaac Fletcher, 
Cockermouth, nine and a quarter inches; in 1858, Sir 
"NV. Keith Murray, Ochtertyre, Crieff, nine inches; in 
1859, Captain Jacob, nine inches; in 1860, James Nas- 

Alvan Claris Refractors. 339 

myth, Penshurst, eight inches; in 1861, another tele- 
scope to J. G. Barclay, ten inches; in 1864, the Rev. 
W. R. Dawes, Haddenham, Berks, eight inches ; and 
in 1867, Edward Crossley, Bermerside, Halifax, nine 
and three-eighths inches. 

In 1855 Mr. Cooke obtained a silver inedal at the 
first Paris Exhibition for a six-inch equatorial tele- 
scope.* This was the highest prize awarded. A few 
years later he was invited to Osborne by the late Prince 
Albert, to discuss with his royal highness the particu- 
lars of an equatorial mounting with a clock movement, 
for which he subsequently received the order. On its 
completion, he superintended the erection of the tele- 
scope, and had the honor of directing it to several of 
the celestial objects for the queen and the Princess 
Alice, and answered their many interesting questions 
as to the stars and planets within sight. 

Mr. Cooke was put to his mettle towards the close 
of his life. A contest had long prevailed among tele- 
scope-makers as to who should turn out the largest 
refractor instrument. The two telescopes of fifteen 
inches' aperture, prepared by Merz and Mahler, of Mu- 
nich, were the largest then in existence. Their size 
was thought quite extraordinary. But, in 1846, Mr. 
Alvan Clark, of Cambridgeport, Massachusetts, spent 
his leisure hours in constructing small telescopes. f He 
was not an optician, nor a mathematician, but a por- 
trait painter. He possessed, however, enough knowl- 
edge of optics and of mechanics to enable him to make 
and judge a telescope. He spent some ten years in 
grinding lenses, and was at length enabled to produce 
objectives equal in quality to any ever made. 

* This excellent instrument is now in the possession of my son-in- 
law, Dr. Hartree, of Leigh, near Tunbridge. 

t An interesting account of Mr. Alvan Clark is given in Professor 
Newcomb's "Popular Astronomy," p. 137. 

Astronomers and Students. 

In 1853 the Rev. AV. K. Dawes, one of Mr. Cooke'a 
customers, purchased an object-glass from Mr. Clark. 
It was so satisfactory that he ordered several other-. 
and finally an entire telescope. The American artist 
then began to be appreciated in his own country. In 
1860 he received an order for a refractor of eighteen 
inches' aperture, three inches greater than the largest 
which had up to that time been made. This telescope 
was intended for the Observatory of Mississippi, but 
the Civil War prevented its being removed to the 
South, and the telescope was sold to the Astronomical 
Society of Chicago, and mounted in the observatory 
of that city. 

And now comes in the rivalry of Mr. Cooke, of York, 
or, rather, of his patron, Mr. Newall, of Gateshead. 
At the Great Exhibition of London, in 1862, two large, 
circular blocks of glass, about two inches thick and 
twenty-six inches in diameter, were shown by the man- 
ufacturers, Messrs. Chance, of Birmingham. These 
disks were found to be of perfect quality, and suitable 
for object-glasses of the best kind. At the close of 
the exhibition they were purchased by Mr. Newall, 
and transferred to the workshops of Messrs. Cooke & 
Sons, at York. To grind and polish and mount these 
disks was found a work of great labor and difficulty. 
Mr. Lockyer says, "Such an achievement marks an 
epoch in telescopic astronomy, and the skill of Mr. 
Cooke and the munificence of Mr. Newall will long be 

When finished, the object-glass had an aperture of 
nearly twenty-five inches, and was of much greater 
power than the eighteen - inch Chicago instrument. 
The length of the tube was about thirty-two feet. 
The cast-iron pillar supporting the whole was nineteen 
feet in height from the ground, and the weight of the 
whole instrument was about six tons. In preparing 

Death of Thomas Cooke. 341 

this telescope, nearly everything, from its extraordi- 
nary size, had to be specially arranged.* The great 
anxiety involved in these arrangements, and the 
constant study and application, told heavily upon Mr. 
Cooke, and though the instrument wanted only a few 
touches to make it complete, his health broke down, 
and he died on the 19th of October, 1868, at the com- 
paratively early age of sixty-two. 

Mr. Cooke's death was felt, in a measure, to be a 
national loss. His science and skill had restored to 
England the prominent position she had held in the 
time of Dollond; and, had he lived, even more might 
have been expected from him. We believe that the 
Gold Medal and Fellowship of the Royal Society were 
waiting for him; but, as one of his friends said to his 
widow, "neither worth nor talent avails when the great 
ordeal is presented to us." In a letter from Professor 
Prit chard, he said: "Your husband has left his mark 
upon his age. No optician of modern times has gained 

* A photographic representation of this remarkable telescope is giv- 
en as the frontispiece to Mr. Lockyer's " Stargazing, Past and Pres- 
ent," and a full description of the instrument is given in the text of the 
same work. This refractor telescope did not long remain the largest. 
Mr. Alvan Clark was commissioned to erect a larger equatorial for 
Washington Observatory, the object-glass (the rough disks of which 
were also furnished by Messrs. Chance, of Birmingham) exceeding in 
aperture that of Mr.'Cooke's by only one inch. This was finished and 
mounted in November, 1873. Another instrument, of similar size and 
power, was manufactured by Mr. Clark for the University of Virginia. 
But these instruments did not long maintain their supremacy. In 
18S1 Mr. Howard Grubb, of Dublin, manufactured a still larger in- 
strument for the Austrian government, the refractor being of twenty- 
seven inches' aperture. But Mv. Alvan Clark was not to be beaten. 
In 1882 he supplied the Russian government with the largest refractor 
" telescope in existence, the object-glass being of thirty inches' diameter. 
But even this is to be surpassed by the lens which Mr. Clark has in 
hand for the Lick Observatory (California), which is to have a clear 
aperture of three feet in diameter. 

34 '1 Astronomers and Students. 

a higher reputation; and I for one do not hesitate to 
call his loss national y for he cannot be replaced at 
j tresent by any one else in his own peculiar line. I 
shall carry the recollection of the affectionate esteem 


in which I held Thomas Cooke with me to my grave. 
Alas! that he should be cut off just at the moment 
when he was about to reap the rewards due to his un- 
rivalled excellence. I have said that F.R.S. and medals 
were to be his. But he is, we fondly trust, in a better 
and higher state than that of earthly distinction. Rest 
assured, your husband's name must ever be associated 
with the really great men of his day. Those who knew 
him will ever cherish his memory." 

Mr. Cooke left behind him the great works which he 
founded in Buckingham Street, York. They still give 
employment to a large number of skilled and intelli- 
gent artisans. There I found many important works in 
progress the manufacture of theodolites, of prismatic 
compasses (for surveying), of Bolton's range-finder, and 
of telescopes above all. In the factory yard was the 
commencement of the Observatory for Greenwich, to 
contain the late Mr. LasselPs splendid two-feet New- 
tonian reflecting telescope, which has been presented 
to the nation. Mr. Cooke's spirit still haunts the works, 
which are carried on with the skill, the vis;or, and the 

7 O J 

perseverance transmitted by him to his sons. 

While at York, I was informed by Mr.Wigglesworth, 
the partner of Messrs. Cooke, of an energetic young 
astronomer at Bainbridge, in the mountain-district of 
Yorkshire, who had not onlv been able to make a tele- 


scope of his own, but was an excellent photographer. 
He was not yet thirty years of age, but had encoun- 
tered and conquered many difficulties. This is a sort 
of character which is more often to be met with in re- 
mote country places than in thickly peopled cities. In 

Samuel Lancaster. 343 

the country a man is more of an individual; in a city 
he is only one of a multitude. The country boy has 
to rely upon himself, and has to work in comparative 
solitude, while the city boy is distracted by excite- 
ments. Life in the country is full of practical teach- 
ings ; whereas life in the city may be degraded by 
frivolities and pleasures, which are too often the foes 
of work. Hence we have usually to go to out-of-the- 
way corners of the country for our hardest brain-work- 
ers. Contact with the earth is a great restorer of 
power ; and it is to the country folks that we must 
ever look for the recuperative power of the nation as 
regards health, vigor, and manliness. 

Bainbridge is a remote country village, situated 
among the high lands or fells on the northwestern 

o o 

border of Yorkshire. The mountains there send out 
great projecting buttresses into the dales ; and the 
waters rush down from the hills, and form waterfalls 
or forces, which Turner has done so much to illustrate. 
The river Bain runs into the Yore at Bainbridge, which 
is supposed to be the site of an old Roman station. 
Over the door of the grammar-school is a mermaid, 
said to have been found in a camp on the top of Ad- 
dleborough, a remarkable limestone hill which rises to 
the southeast of Bainbridge. It is in this grammar- 
school that we find the subject of this little autobiog- 
raphy. He must be allowed to tell the story of his 
life which he describes as "Work: Good, Bad, and 
Indifferent" in his own words. 

"I was born on November 20th, 1853. In niy child- 
hood I suffered from ill-health. My parents let me 
play about in the open air, and did not put me to 
school until I had turned rny sixth year. One day, 
playing in the shoemaker's shop, William Farrel asked 
me if I knew my letters. I answered 'No.' He then 
took down a primer from a shelf, and began to teach 

34 1 Astronomers an>l S 

me the alphabet, at the same time amusing me ly liken- 
ing the letters to familial- ohjeets in his shup. I M>on 
learned to read, and in ahout six weeks I surprised my 
i'atlier ly reading from an easy hook which the shoe- 
maker had given me. 

"My father then took me into the school, of which 
he was master, and my education may he said fairly to 
have begun. My progress, however, was very slow 
partly owing to ill-health, but more, I must acknowl- 
edge, to carelessness and inattention. In fact, during 
the first four years I was at school, I learned very lit- 


tie of anything, with the exception of reciting verses, 
which I seemed to learn without any mental effort. 
My memory became very retentive. I found that by 
attentively reading half a page of print, or more, from 
any of the school-books, I could repeat the whole of it 
without missing a word. I can scarcely explain how I 
did it; but I think it was by paying strict attention to 
the words as words, and forming a mental picture of the 
paragraphs as they were grouped in the book. Cer- 
tain, I am, that their sense never made much impression 
on me, for, when questioned by the teacher, I was al- 
ways sent to the bottom of the class, though apparently 
I had learned my exercise to perfection. 

" When I was twelve years old, I made the acquaint- 
ance of a very ingenious boy, who came to our school. 
Samuel Bridge was a born mechanic. Though only a 
year older than myself, such was his ability in the use 
of tools that he could construct a model of any ma- 
chine that he saw. He awakened in me a love of me- 
chanical construction, and together we made models 
of colliery winding - frames, iron -rolling mills, trip- 
hammers, and water-wheels. Some of them were not 
mere toys, but constructed to scale, and were really 
good working models. This love of mechanical con- 
struction has never left me, and I shall always remem- 

Study of Chemistry. 345 

ber with affection Samuel Bridge, who first taught me 
to use the hammer and file. The last I heard of him 
was in 1875, when he passed his examination as a 
schoolmaster, in honors, and was at the head of his 

"During the next two years, when between twelve 
and fourteen, I made comparatively slow progress at 
school. I remember having to write out the fourth 
commandment from memory. The teacher counted 
twenty-three mistakes in ten lines of my writing. It 
will be seen from this, that, as regards learning, I con- 
tinued heedless and backward. About this time my 
father, who was a good violinist, took me under his 
tuition. He made me practice on the violin about an 
hour and a half a day. I continued this for a long 
time. But the result was failure. I hated the violin, 
and would never play unless compelled to do so. I 
suppose the secret was that I had no ' ear.' 

"It was different with subjects more to my mind. 
Looking over my father's books one day, I came upon 
' Gregory's Handbook of Inorganic Chemistry,' and 
began reading it. I was fascinated with the book, and 
studied it morning, noon, and night in fact, every time 
when I could snatch a few minutes. I really believe 
that at one time I could have repeated the whole of the 
book from memory. Now I found the value of arith- 
metic, and set to work in earnest on proportion, vulgar 
and decimal fractions, and, in fact, everything in school 
work that I could turn to account in the science of 
chemistry. The result of this sudden application was 
that I was seized with an illness. For some months I 
had incessant headache; my hair became dried up, 
then turned gray, and finally came off. Weighing 
myself shortly after my recovery, at the age of fifteen, 
I found that I just balanced fifty-six pounds. I took 
up mensuration, then astronomy, working at them 


346 Astronomers and Students. 

slowly, but giving the bulk of my spare time to chem- 

"In the year 1869, when I was sixteen years old, I 
came across Cuthbert Bede's book, entitled ' Photo- 
graphic Pleasures.' It is an amusing book, </\\ in<j; an 
account of the rise and progress of photography, and 
at the same time having a good-natured laugh at it. 
I read the book carefully, and took up photography as 
an amusement, using some apparatus which belonged 
to my father, who had at one time dabbled in the art. 
I was soon able to take fair photographs. I then de- 
cided to try photography as a business. I was appren- 
ticed to a photographer, and spent four years with him 
one year at Xorthallerton, and three at Darlington. 
When my employer -removed to Darlington, I joined 
the School of Art there. 

" Having read an account of the experiments of M. 
E. Becquerel, a French savant, on photographing in 
the colors of nature, my curiosity was awakened. I 
carefully repeated his experiments, and convinced my- 
self that he was correct. I continued my experiments 
in heliochromy for a period of about two years, during 
which time I made many photographs in colors, and 
discovered a method of developing the colored image, 
which enabled me to shorten the exposure to one for- 
tieth of the previously required time. During these 
experiments I came upon some curious results, which, 
I think, might puzzle our scientific men to account for. 
For instance, I proved the existence of black light, or 
rays of such a nature as to turn the rose-colored sur- 
face of the sensitive plate black that is, rays reflected 
from the black paint of drapery, produced black in the 
picture, and not the effect of darkness. I was, like 
Becquerel, unable to fix the colored image without de- 
stroying the colors; though the plates would keep a 
long while in the dark, and could be examined in a 

Education in Art. 34:7 

subdued, though not in a strong light. The colored 
image was faint, but the colors came out with great 
truth and delicacy. 

" I began to attend the School of Art, at Darlington, 
on the 6th of March, 1872. I found, on attempting to 
draw, that I had naturally a correct eye and hand, and 
I made such progress that, when the students' draw- 
ings were examined, previously to sending them up to 
South Kensington, all my work was approved. I was 
then set to draw from the cast in chalk, although I 
had only been at the school for a month. I tried for 
all the four subjects at the May examination, and was 
fortunate enough to pass three of them, and obtained 
as a prize Packett's ' Sciography.' I worked hard 
during the next year, and sent up seventeen works; 
for one of these, the ' Venus de Milo,' I gained a stu- 

" I then commenced the study of human anatomy, 
and began water-color painting, reading all the works 
upon art on which I could lay my hand. At the May 
examination of 1873 I completed my second-grade cer- 
tificate, and at the end of the year of my studentship 
I accepted the office of teacher in the School of Art. 
This art-training created in me a sort of disgust for 
photography, as I saw that the science of photography 
had really very little genuine art in it, and was more 
allied to a mechanical pursuit than to an artistic one. 
Now, when I look back on my past ideas, I clearly see 
that a great deal of this disgust was due to my igno- 
rance and self-conceit. 

"In 1874 I commenced painting in tempora, and 
then in oil, copying the pictures lent to the school 
from the South Kensington Art Library. I worked, 
also, from still life, and began sketching from nature 
in oil and water colors, sometimes selling my work to 
help me to buy materials for art-work and scientific 

348 Astronomers and Students. 

experiments. I was, however, able to do very little in 
the following year, as I was at home, suffering from 
sciatica. For nine months I could not stand erect, 
hut had to hobble about with a stick. This illness 
caused me to give up my teachership. 

"Early in 1876 I returned to Darlington. I went 
on with my art studies and the science of chemistry, 
though I went no further in heliochromy. I pushed 
forward with anatomv. I sent about fifteen works to 


South Kensington, and gained, as my third-grade prize 
in list A, the 'Dictionary of Terms used in Art,' by 
Thomas Fairholt, which I found a very useful work. 
Towards the end of the year my father, whose health 
was declining, sent for me home, to assist him in the 
school. I now commenced the study of algebra and 
Euclid in good earnest, but found it tough work. My 
father, though a fair mathematician, was unable to 
give me any instruction, for he had been seized with 
paralysis, from which he never recovered. Before he 
died he recommended me to try for a schoolmaster's 
certificate, and I promised him that I would. I ob- 
tained a situation as master of a small village school, 
not under government inspection; and I studied dur- 
ing the year, and obtained a second-class certificate 
at the Durham Diocesan College at Christmas, 1877. 
Early in the following year the school was placed un- 
der government inspection, and became a little more 

" I now went on with chemical analysis, making my 
own apparatus. Requiring an intense heat on a small 
scale, I invented a furnace that burned petroleum oil. 
It was blown by compressed air. After many failures, 
I eventually succeeded in bringing it to such perfec- 
tion that in seven and a half minutes it would bring 
four ounces of steel into a perfectly liquefied state. I 
next commenced the study of electricity and magnet- 

Algebra, Euclid, and Optics. 349 

ism, and then acoustics, light, and heat. I construct- 
ed all my apparatus myself, and acquired the art of 
glass-blowing, in order to make my own chemical ap- 
paratus, and thus save expense. 

" I then went on with algebra and Euclid, and took 
up plane trigonometry ; but I devoted most of my 
time to electricity and magnetism. I constructed va- 
rious scientific apparatus a siren, telephones, micro- 
phones, an Edison's megaphone, as well as an elec- 
trometer, and a machine for covering electric wire 
with cotton or silk. A friend having lent me a work 
on artificial memory, I began to study it; but the work 
led me into nothing but confusion, and I soon found 
that, if I did not give it up, I should be left with no 
memory at all. I still went on sketching from nature, 
not so much as a study, but as a means of recruiting 
my health, which was far from being good. At the 
beginning of 1881 I obtained my present situation as 
assistant master at the Yorebridge Grammar School, 
of which the Rev. W. Balderston, M. A., is principal. 

"Soon after I became settled here I spent some of 
my leisure time in reading Emerson's ( Optics,' a work 
I bought at an old bookstall. I was not very success- 
ful with it, owing to my deficient mathematical knowl- 
edge. On the May Science Examinations of 1881 
taking place, at Newcastle-on-Tyne, I applied for per- 
mission to sit, and obtained four tickets for the follow- 
ing subjects: mathematics, electricity and magnetism, 
acoustics, light and heat, and physiography. During 
the preceding month I had read up the first three sub- 
jects; but, being pressed for time, I gave up the idea 
of taking physiography. However, on the last night 
of the examinations I had some conversation with one 
of the students as to the subjects required for physi- 
ography. He said, 'You want a little knowledge of 
everything in a scientific way. and nothing much of 

350 Astronomers and Students. 

anything.' I determined to try, for 'nothing much of 
anything' suited me exactly. I rose early next morn- 
ing, and as soon as the shops were open I went and 
bought a book on the subject, * Outlines of Physiogra- 
phy,' by W. Lawson, F.R.G.S. I read it all day, and 
at night sat for the examination. The results of my 
examinations were failure in mathematics, but second- 
class advanced-grade certificates in all the others. I 
do not attach any credit to passing in physiography, 
but merely relate the circumstance as curiously show- 
ins; what can be done bv a crood ' cram.' 

O *> O 

"The failure in mathematics caused me to take the 
subject 'by the horns,' to see what I could do with it. 
I began by going over quadratic equations, and I grad- 
ually solved the whole of those given in Todhunter's 
larger 'Algebra.' Then I re-read the progressions, 
permutations, combinations ; the binomial theorem, 
with indices and surds ; the logarithmic theorem and 
series, converging and diverging. I got Todhunter's 
larger 'Plane Trigonometry,' and read it, with the 
theorems contained in it; then his 'Spherical Trigo- 
nometry;' his 'Analytical Geometry, of Two Dimen- 
sions,' and ' Conies.' I next obtained De Morgan's 
' Differential and Integral Calculus,' then Woolhouse's, 
and, lastly, Todhunter's. I found this department of 
mathematics difficult and perplexing to the last degree; 
but I mastered it sufficiently to turn it to some ac- 
count. This last mathematical course represents eigh- 
teen months of hard work, and I often sat up the whole 
night through. One result of the application was a 
permanent injury to my sight. 

"Wanting some object on which to apply my new- 
ly acquired mathematical knowledge, I determined to 
construct an astronomical telescope. I got Airy's ' Ge- 
ometrical Optics,' and read it through. Then I searched 
through all my English Mechanic, (a scientific paper 

Construction of a Telescope-. 351 

that I take), and prepared for my work by reading all 
the literature on the subject that I could obtain. I 
bought two disks of glass, of six and a half inches' di- 
ameter, and began to grind them to a spherical curve 
twelve feet radius. I got them hollowed out, but failed 
in fining them through lack of skill. This occurred six 
times in succession; but at the seventh time the polish 
came up beautifully, with scarcely a scratch upon tne 
surface. Stopping my work one night, and it being 
starlight, I thought I would try the mirror on a star. 
I had a wooden frame ready for the purpose, which 
the carpenter had made for me. Judge of my sur- 
prise and delight when I found that the star-disk en- 
larged nearly in the same manner from each side of 
the focal point, thus making it extremely probable that 
I had accidentally hit on a new approach to the pa- 
rabola in the curve of my mirror. And such proved to 
be the case. I have the mirror still, and its perform- 
ance is very good indeed. 

"I went no further with this mirror, for fear of 
spoiling it. It is very slightly gray in the centre, but 
not sufficiently so as to materially injure its perform- 
ance. I mounted it in a wooden tube, placed it on a 
wooden stand, and used it for a time thus mounted; 
but, getting disgusted with the tremor and inconve- 
nience I had to put up with, I resolved to construct for 
it an iron equatorial stand. I made my patterns, got 
them cast, turned and fitted them myself, grinding all 
the working parts together with emery and oil, and 
fitted a tangent-screw motion to drive the instrument 
in right ascension. Kow I found the instrument a 
pleasure to use, and I determined to add to it divided 
circles, and to accurately adjust it to the meridian. 
I made my circles of well-seasoned mahogany, with 
slips of paper on their edges, dividing them with my 
drawing instruments, and varnishing them to keep out 

352 Astronomers and Students. 

the wet. I shall never forget that sunny afternoon 
upon which I computed the hour- angle for Jupiter, 
and set the instrument so that, by calculation, Jupiter 
should pass through the field of the instrument at one 
hour twenty-five minutes and fifteen seconds. "With 
my watch in my hand, and my eye to the eye-piece, I 
waited for the orb. When his glorious face appeared, 
almost in a direct line for the centre of the field, I 
could not contain my joy, but shouted out as loudly 
as I could, greatly to the astonishment of old George 
Johnson, the miller, who happened to be in the field 
where I had planted my stand ! 

" Now, though I had obtained what I wanted a 
fairly good instrument still I was not quite satisfied, 
as I had produced it by a fortunate chance, and not 
by skill alone. I therefore set to work again on the 
other disk of glass, to try if I could finish it in such a 
way as to excel the first one. After nearly a year's 
work, I found that I could only succeed in equalling 
it. But then, during this time, I had removed the 
working of mirrors from mere chance to a fair amount 


of certainty. By bringing my mathematical knowl- 
edge to bear on the subject, I had devised a method 
of testing and measuring my work which, I am happy 
to say, has been fairly successful, and has enabled me 
to produce the spherical, elliptic, parabolic, or hyper- 
bolic curve in my mirrors with almost unvarying suc- 
cess. The study of the practical working of specula 
and lenses has also absorbed a good deal of my spare 
time during the last two years, and the work involved 
has been scarcely less difficult. Altogether, I consider 
this last year (1882-83) to mark the busiest period of 
my life. 

"It will be observed that I have only given an ac- 
count of those branches of study in which I have put 
to practical test the deductions from theoretical rea- 

Achromatic Object-glass. 353 

soiling. I am at present engaged on the theory of the 
achromatic object-glass, with regard to spherical chro- 
matism, a subject upon which, I believe, nearly all our 
text-books are silent, but one, nevertheless, of vital 
importance to the optician. I can only proceed very 
slowly with it, on account of having to grind and fig- 
ure lenses for every step of the theory to keep myself 
in the right track, as mere theorizing is apt to lead 
one very much astray, unless it be checked by constant 
experiment. For this particular subject, lenses must 
be ground firstly to spherical, and then to curves of 
conic sections, so as to eliminate spherical aberration 
from each lens; so that it will be observed that this 
subject is not without its difficulties. 

"About a month ago (September, 1883) I deter- 
mined to put to the test the statement of some of our 
theorists, that the surface of a rotating fluid is either 
a parabola or a hyperbola. I found by experiment that 
it is neither, but an approximation to the tractrix (a 
modification of the catenary), if anything definite; as, 
indeed, one, on thinking over the matter, might feel 
certain it would be, the tractrix being the curve of 
least friction. 

" In astronomy I have really done very little beyond 
mere algebraical working of the fundamental theo- 
rems and a little casual observation of the telescope. 
So far, I must own, I have taken more pleasure in the 
theory and construction of the telescope than in its 


Such is Samuel Lancaster's history of the growth 
and development of his mind. I do not think there is 
anything more interesting in the "Pursuit of Knowl- 
edge under Difficulties." His life has been a gallant 
endeavor to win further knowledge, though too much 
at the expense of a constitution originally delicate. 
He pursues science with patience and determination. 

Astronomers and Students. 

and wooes truth with the ardor of a lover. Eulogy f 
his character would here be unnecessary, but if In- 
takes due care of his health, we shall hear more of 

- Since the above passage was written and in typo, I have seen (in 
September, 1884) the reflecting telescope referred to at pp. 351, 3 ">'_'. 
It was mounted on its cast-iron equatorial stand, and at work in the 
field adjoining the village green at Bainbridge, Yorkshire. The mir- 
ror of the telescope is eight inches in diameter, its focal length five 
feet, and the tube in which it is mounted about six feet long. The 
instrument seemed to me to have an excellent defining power. 

But Mr. Lancaster, like every eager astronomer, is anxious for fur- 
ther improvements, lie considers the achromatic telescope the king 
of instruments, and is now engaged in testing convex optical surfaces, 
with a view to achieving a telescope of that description. The chief 
difficulty is the heavy charge for the circular blocks of flint-glass requi- 
site for the work which he meditates. "That," he says, " is the great 
difficulty with amateurs of my class." lie has, however, already con- 
trived and constructed a machine for grinding and polishing the lenses 
in an accurate convex form, and it works quite satisfactorily. 

Mr. Lancaster makes his own tools. From the raw material, whether 
of glass or steel, he produces the work required. As to tools, all that 
he requires is a bar of steel and fire ; his fertile brain and busy hands 
do the rest. I looked into the little workshop behind his sitting-room, 
and found it full of ingenious adaptations. The turning-lathe occu- 
pies a considerable part of it ; but, when he requires more space, the 
village smith with his stithy, and the miller with his water-power, are 
always ready to help him. His tools, though not showy, are effect- 
ive. His best lenses are made by himself; those which he buys are 
not to be depended upon. The best flint-glass is obtained from Paris 
in blocks, which he divides, grinds, and polishes to perfect form. 

I was attracted by a newly made machine, placed on a table in the 
sitting-room, and, on inquiry, found that its object was to grind and 
polish lenses. Mr. Lancaster explained that the difficulty to be over- 
come in a good machine is to make the emery cut the surface equally 
from centre to edge of the lens, so that the lens will neither lengthen 
nor shorten the curve during its production. To quote his words, 
"This really involves the problem of the ' three bodies,' or disturbing 
forces so celebrated in dynamical mathematics, and it is further com- 
plicated by another quantity, the 'coefficient of attrition,' or work 
done by the grinding material, as well as the mischief done by capil- 

. John Jones. 355 

More astronomers in humble life! There seems to 
be no end of them. There must be a great fascination 
in looking up to the heavens, and seeing those won- 
drous worlds careering in the far-off infinite. Let me 
look back to the names I have introduced in this chap- 
ter of autobiography. First, there was my worthy 
porter friend at Coupar Angus station, enjoying hini- 

lary attraction and nodal points of superimposed curves in the path of 
the tool. These complications tend to cause rings or waves of un- 
equal wear in the surface of the glass, and ruin the defining power of 
the lens, which depends upon the uniformity of its curve. As the 
outcome of much practical experiment, combined with mathematical 
research, I settled upon the ratio of speed between the sheave of the 
lens-tool guide and the turn-table, between whose limits the practical 
equalization of wear (or cut of the emery) might with the greater fa- 
cility be adjusted, by means of varying the stroke and eccentricity of 
the tool. As the result of these considerations in the construction of 
the machine, the surface of the glass ' comes up ' regularly all over the 
lens, and the polishing only takes a few minutes' work, thus keeping 
the truth of surface gained by using a rigid tool." 

The machine in question consists of a revolving sheave or ring, 
with a sliding strip across its diameter, the said strip having a slot 
and clamping-screw at one end and a hole towards the other, through 
which passes the axis of the tool used in forming the lens, the slot in 
the strip allowing the tool to give any stroke from zero to one and a 
quarter inch. The lens is carried on a revolving turn-table, with an 
arrangement to allow the axis of the lens to coincide with the axis of 
the table. The ratio of speed between the sheave and turn-table is 
arranged by belt and properly sized pulleys, and the whole can be 
driven either by hand or by power. The sheave merely serves as a 
guide to the tool in its path, and the lens may either be worked on 
the turn-table or upon a chuck attached to the tool-rod. The work 
upon the lens is thus to a great extent independent of the error of the 
machine through shaking or bad fitting or wear, and the only part of 
the machine which requires really first-class work is the axis of the 
turn-table, which (in this machine) is a conical bearing at top, with 
steel centre below, the bearing turned, hardened, and then ground up 
true, and run in anti-friction metal. Other details might be given, 
but these are probably enough for present purposes. We hope, at 
some future time, for a special detail of Mr. Lancaster's interesting 
investigations from his own mind and pen. 

35G Astronomers and Students. 

self with his three-inch object-glass. Then there was 
the shoemaker and teacher, and eventually the first-rate 
maker of achromatic instruments. Look also at the 
persons whom he supplied with his best telescopes. 
Among them we find princes, baronets, clergymen, 
professors, doctors, solicitors, manufacturers, and in- 
ventors. Then we come to the portrait painter, who 
acquired the highest supremacy in the art of telescope- 
making; then to Mr. Lassell, the retired brewer, who 
left his great instrument to the nation; and, lastly, to 
the extraordinary young schoolmaster of Bainbridge, 
in Yorkshire. And now, before I conclude this last 
chapter, I have to relate perhaps the most extraordi- 
nary story of all that of another astronomer in hum- 
ble life, in the person of a slate counter at Port Pen- 
rhyn, Bangor, North Wales. 

While at Birnam I received a letter from my old 
friend, the Rev. Charles Wicksteed, formerly of Leeds, 
calling my attention to this case, and enclosing an ex- 
tract from the letter of a younsr ladv, one of his cor- 

*/ m * 

respondents at Bangor. In that letter she said : " What 
you write of Mr. Christmas Evans reminds me very 
much of a visit I paid a few evenings ago to an old 
man in Upper Bangor. He works on the quay, but has 
a very decided taste for astronomy, his leisure time 
being spent in its study, with a great part of his earn- 
ings. I went there with some friends to see an im- 
mense telescope, which he has made almost entirely 
without aid, preparing the glasses as far as possible 
himself, and sending them away merely to have their 
concavity changed. He showed us all his treasures 
with the greatest delight, explaining in English, but 
substituting Welsh when at a loss. He has scarcely 
ever been at school, but has learned English entirely 
from books. Among: other things he showed us were 

o o 

a Greek Testament and a Hebrew Bible, both of which 

" Jimbo." 357 

he can read. His largest telescope, which is several 
yards long, he has named ' Jumbo,' and through it he 
told us he saw the snowcap on the pole of Mars. He 
had another smaller telescope, made by himself, and 
had a spectroscope in process of making. He is now 
quite old, but his delight in his studies is still un- 
bounded and unabated. It seems so sad that he has 
had no right opportunity for developing his talent." 

Mr. Wicksteed was very much interested in the case, 
and called my attention to it, that I might add the 
story to my repertory of self -helping men. While at 
York I received a communication from Miss Grace 
Ellis, the young lady in question, informing me of the 
name of the astronomer John Jones, Albert Street, 
Upper Bangor and intimating that he would be glad 
to see me any evening after six. As railways have 
had the effect of bringing places very close together in 
point of time making of Britain, as it were, one great 
town and as the autumn was brilliant, and the holi- 
day season not at an end, I had no difficulty in diverg- 
ing from my journey, and taking Bangor on my way 
homeward. Starting from York in the morning, and 
passing through Leeds, Manchester, and Chester, I 
reached Bangor in the afternoon, and had my first in- 
terview with Mr. Jones that very evening. 

I found him, as Miss Grace Ellis had described, ac- 
tive, vigorous, and intelligent; his stature short, his 
face well-formed, his eyes keen and bright. I was first 
shown into his little parlor down-stairs, furnished with 
his books and some of his instruments; I was then 
taken to his tiny room up-stairs, where he had his big 
reflecting telescope, by means of which he had seen, 
through the chamber window, the snowcap of Mars. 
He is so fond of philology that I found he had no fewer 
than twenty-six dictionaries, all bought out of his own 
earnings. " I am fond of all knowledge," he said " of 

358 Astronomers and Students. 

Reuben, Dan, and Issachar; but I bave a favorite, a 
Benjamin, and tbat is astronomy. I would sell all of 
tbem into Egypt, but preserve my Benjamin." His 
story is briefly as follows: 

"I was born at Bryngwyn Bach, Anglesey, in 1818, 
and I am sixty-five years old. I got the little educa- 
tion I have, when a boy. Owen Owen, who was a 
cousin of my mother's, kept a school at a chapel in the 
village of Dwyrain, in Anglesey. It was said of Owen 
that he never had more than a quarter of a year's 
schooling, so that he could not teach me much. I went 
to his school at seven, and remained with him about a 
year. Then he left; and some time afterwards I went 
for a short period to an old preacher's school, at Bryn- 
sieneyn chapel. There I learned but little, the teacher 
being negligent. He allowed the children to play to- 
gether too much, and he punished them for slight of- 
fences, making them obstinate and disheartened. But 
I remember his once saying to the other children that 
I ran through my little lesson ' like a coach.' How- 
ever, when I was about twelve years old, my father 
died, and in losing him Host almost all the little I had 
learned during the short periods I had been at school. 
Then I went to work for the farmers. 

"In this state of ignorance I remained for years, 
until the time came when on Sunday I used to saddle 
the old black mare for Cadwalladr Williams, the Cal- 
vinist Methodist preacher, at Pen Ceint, Anglesey; 
and after he had ridden away, I used to hide in his li- 
brary during the sermon, and there I learned a little 
that I shall not soon forget. In that way I had many 
a draught of knowledge, as it were, by stealth. Hav- 
ing a strong taste for music, I was much attracted by 
choral singing; and on Sundays and in the evenings I 
tried to copy out airs from different books, and accus- 
tomed my hand a little to writing. This tendency 

John Jones's Education. 359 

was, however, choked within me by too much work 
with the cattle, and by other farm labor. In a word, 
I had but little fair weather in my search for knowl- 
edge. One thing enticed me from another, to the 
detriment of my plans; some fair Eve often standing 
with an apple in hand, tempting me to taste of that. 

"The old preacher's books at Pen Ceint were in 
Welsh. I had not yet learned English, but tried to 
learn it by comparing one line in the English New 
Testament with the same line in the Welsh. This 
was the Hamiltonian method, and the way in which I 
learned most languages. I first got an idea of astron- 
omy from reading ' The Solar System,' by Dr. Dick, 
translated into Welsh by Eleazar Roberts of Liverpool. 
That book I found on Sundays in the preacher's libra- 
ry; and many a sublime thought it gave me. It was 
comparatively easy to understand. 

" When I was about thirty I was taken very ill, and 
could no longer work. I then went to Bangor to con- 
sult Dr. Humphrys. After I got better I found work 
at the port at 125. a week. I was employed in count- 
ing the slates, or loading the ships in the harbor from 
the railway trucks. I lodged in Fwn Deg, near where 
Hugh Williams, Gatehouse, then kept a navigation 
school for young sailors. I learned navigation, and 
soon made considerable progress. I also learned a lit- 
tle arithmetic. At first nearly all the young men were 
more advanced than myself; but before I left matters 
were different, and the Scripture words became verified 
'the last shall be first.' I remained with Hugh 
Williams six months and a half. During that time I 
went twice through the 'Tutor's Assistant' and a 

^j * 

month before I left I was taught mensuration. That 
is all the education I received, and the greater part of 
it was during my by-hours. 

"I got to know English pretty well, though Welsh 

3(5 ' < 1 xli'onomcrs and titud> nts. 

the language of those :ibmil inc. Fn.m easy 
I went to those more difficult. I was helped in my 
pronunciation of English ly comparing the words with 
the phonetic alphabet, as published by Thomas Gee of 
Denbigh, in 1853. With my spare earnings I bought 
books, especially when my wages began to rise. Mr. 
\Vyatt, the steward, was very kind, and raised my pay 
from time to time at his pleasure. I suppose I was 
willing, correct, and faithful. I improved my knowl- 
edge by reading books on astronomy. I got, among 
others, ' The Mechanism of the Heavens,' by Denison 
Olmstead, an American; a very understandable book. 
Learning English, which was a foreign language to 
me, led me to learn other languages. I took pleasure 
in finding out the roots or radixes of words, and from 
time to time I added foreign dictionaries to my little 
library. But I took most pleasure in astronomy. 

" The perusal of Sir John Herschel's ' Outlines of 
Astronomy,' and of his ( Treatise on the Telescope,' set 
my mind on fire. I conceived the idea of making a 
telescope of my own, for I could not buy one. While 
reading the Mechanics' Magazine I observed the ac- 
counts of men who made telescopes. Why should not 
I do the same? Of course it was a matter of great 
difficulty to one who knew comparatively little of the 
use of tools. But I had a willing mind and willing 
hands. So I set to work. I think I made my first 
telescope about twenty years ago. It was thirty-six 
inches long, and the tube was made of pasteboard. I 
got the glasses from Liverpool for 4s. Qd. Captain 
Owens, of the ship Talacra, bought them. He also 
bought for me, at a bookstall, the Greek Lexicon and 
the Greek New Testament, for which he paid 7-s. Gd. 
With my new telescope I could see Jupiter's four sat- 
ellites, the craters on the moon, and some of the double 
stars. It was a wonderful pleasure to me. 

Constructing a Telescope. 361 

"But I was not satisfied with the instrument. I 
wanted a bigger and a more perfect one. I sold it and 
got new glasses from Solomon of London, who was al- 
ways ready to trust me. I think it was about the year 
1868 that I began to make a reflecting telescope. I 
got a rough disk of glass, from St. Helens, of ten inches' 
diameter. It took me from nine to ten days to grind 
and polish it ready for parabolizing and silvering. I 
did this by hand labor with the aid of emery, but with- 
out a lathe. I finally used rouge instead of emery in 
grinding down the glass, until I could see my face in 
the mirror quite plain. I then sent the eight-and-three- 
sixteenths-inch disk to Mr. George Calvers of Chelms- 
ford, to turn my spherical curve to a parabolic curve, 
and to silver the mirror, for which I paid him 5. I 
mounted this in my timber tube; the focus was ten 
feet. When everything was complete I tried my in- 
strument on the sky, and found it to have good defin- 
ing power. The diameter of the other glass I have 
made is a little under six inches. 

"You ask me if their performance satisfies me? 
Well; I have compared my six-inch reflector with a 
four-and-a-quarter-inch refractor, through my window, 
with a power of one hundred and one hundred and 
forty. I can't say which was the best. But if out on 
a clear night, I think my reflector would take more 
power than the refractor. However that may be, I 
saw the snowcap on the planet Mars quite plain; and 
it is satisfactory to me so far. With respect to the 
eight-and-three-sixteenths-inch glass, I am not quite 
satisfied with it yet; but I am making improvements, 
and I believe it will reward my labor in the end." 

Besides these instruments John Jones has an equa- 
torial which is mounted on a tripod-stand, made by 
himself. It contains the right ascension, declination, 
and azimuth index, all neatly carved upon slate. In 


362 Astronomers and Student*. 

his spectroscope he makes his prisms out of the sky- 
lights used in \es>els. These lie grinds down to suit 

o o 

his purpose. I have not been able to go into the 
complete detail of the manner in which he effects the 
grinding of his glasses. It is perhaps too technical to 
be illustrated in words, which are full of focuses, pa- 
rabolas, and convexities. But enough may be gathered 
from the above account to give an idea of the wonder- 
ful tenacity of this aged student, who counts his slates 
into the ships by day, and devotes his evenings to the 
perfecting of his astronomical instruments. 

But not only is he an astronomer and philologist; 
lie is also a bard, and his poetry is much admired in 
the district. He writes in "Welsh, not in English, and 
signs himself " loan, of Bryngwyn Bach," the place 
where he was born. Indeed, he is still at a loss for 
words when he speaks in English. He usually inter- 
lards his conversation with passages in Welsh, which 
is his mother-tongue. A friend has, however, done me 
the favor to translate two of John Jones's poems into 
English. The first is The Telescope " : 

"To Heaven it points, where rules the Sun 

In golden gall'ries bright ; 
And the pale Moon in silver rays 
Makes dalliance in the night. 

"It sweeps with eagle glances 

The sky, its myriad throng, 

That myriad throng to marshal 

And bring to us their song. 

" Orb upon orb it follows, 
As oft they intertwine, 
And worlds in vast processions 
As if in battle line. 

"It loves all things created 
To follow and to trace ; 
And never fears to penetrate 
The dark abyss of space." 

The Bards Verses. 363 

The next is to "The Comet": 

"A maiden fair, with light of stars bedecked, 
Starts out of space at Jove's command ; 
With visage wild, and long, dishevelled hair, 
Speeds she along her starry course ; 
The hosts of heaven regards she not 
Fain would she scorn them all except her father, Sol, 
Whose mighty influence her headlong course doth all control.'' 

The following translation may also be given. It 
shows that the bard is not without a spice of wit. A 
fellow-workman teased him to write some lines, when 
John Jones, in a seemingly innocent manner, put some 
questions, and ascertained that he had once been a tai- 
lor. Accordingly, this epigram was written, and ap- 
peared in the local paper the week after: " To a Quon- 
dam Tailor, now a Slate-teller": 

"To thread and needle now good-bye, 

With slates I aim at riches; 
The scissors will I ne'er more ply, 
Nor make, but order, breeches."* 

The bilingual speech is the great educational diffi- 
culty of Wales. To get an entrance into literature 
and science requires a knowledge of English ; or, if 
not of English, then of French or German. But the 
Welsh language stands in the way. Few literary or 
scientific works are translated into Welsh. Hence the 
great educational difficulty continues, and is maintained 
from year to year, by patriotism and Eisteddfods. 

Possibly the difficulties to be encountered may occa- 
sionally evoke unusual powers of study; but this can 
only occur in exceptional cases. While at Bangor, Mr. 
Cadwalladr Davies read to me the letter of a student 
and professor whose passion for knowledge is of an 
extraordinary character. While examined before the 

'* The translations are made by W. Cadwalladr Davies, Esq. 

364 Axfrtmomcrs arnJ Students. 

Parliamentary Committee appointed to inquire into 
the condition of intermediate and higher education in 
\Yales aii'l Monmouthshire, Mr. I)avies iravc evidence 
relating to this and otlier remarkable ra-e-. of which 
the following is an abstract, condensed ly himself: 

" The night-schools in the quarry districts have been 
doing a very great work; and, if the committee will 
allow me, I will read an extract from a letter which I 
received from Mr. Bradley Jones, master of the Board 
Schools at Llanarmon, near Mold, Flintshire, who some 
years ago kept a very nourishing night-school in the 
neighborhood. He says, ' During the whole of the 
time (fourteen years) that I was at Carneddi I carried 
on these schools, and I believe I have had more expe- 
rience of such institutions than any teacher in Xorth 
Wales. For several years about one hundred and twen- 
ty scholars used to attend the Carneddi night-school 
in the winter months, four evenings a week. Xear- 

' O 

ly all were quarrymen, from fourteen to twenty-one 
years of age, and engaged at work from seven A.M. to 
five thirty r.M. So intense was their desire for educa- 
tion, that some of them had to walk a distance of two 
or even three miles to school. These, besides workino- 

7 O 

hard all day, had to walk six miles in the one case and 
nine in the other before school-time, in addition to the 
walk home afterwards. Several of them used to at- 
tend all the year round, even coming to me for lessons 
in summer before going to work, as well as in the even- 
ing. Indeed, so anxious were some of them, that they 
would often come for lessons as early as five o'clock in 
the morning. This may appear almost incredible, but 
any of the managers of the Carneddi School could cor- 
roborate the statement. 

" ' I have now in my mind's eye,' continues Mr. Brad- 
ley, ' several of these young men, who, by dint of in- 
defatigable labor and self-denial, ultimately qualified 

Welsh, Enthusiasm for Education. 365 

themselves for posts in which a good education is a 
sine qua non. Some of them are to-day quarry-man- 
agers, professional men, certificated teachers, and min- 
isters of the gospel. Five of them are at the present 
time students at Bala College. One got a situation in 
the Glasgow post-office as letter-carrier. During his 
leisure hours he attended the lectures at one of the 
medical schools of that city, and in course of time 
gained his diploma. He is now practising as a sur- 
geon, and I understand with signal success. This 
gentleman worked in the Penrhyn Quarry until he 
was twenty years old. I could give many more in- 
stances of the resolute and self-denying spirit with 
which the young quarrymen of Bethesda sought to 
educate themselves. The teachers of the other schools 
in that neighborhood could give similar examples; for, 
during the winter months there used to be no less than 
three hundred evening scholars under instruction in the 
different schools. The Bethesda booksellers could tell 
a tale that would surprise our English friends. I have 
been informed by one of them that he has sold to young 
quarrymen an immense number of such works as Lord 
Macaulay's, Stuart Mill's, and Professor Fawcett's; 
and it is no uncommon sight to find these and similar 
works read and studied by the young quarrymen dur- 
ing the dinner-hour.' 

"I can give," proceeds Mr. Cadwalladr Davies, "one 
remarkable instance to show the struggles which young 
Welshmen have to undertake in order to get education. 
The boy in question, the son of 'poor but honest pa- 
rents,' left the small national school of his native vil- 
lage when he was twelve and a half years of age, and 
then followed his father's occupation of shoemaking 
until he was sixteen and a half years of age. After 
working hard at his trade for four years, he, his broth- 
er, and two fellow-apprentices formed themselves into 

300 Astronomers and Students. 

a sort of club to learn shorthand, the whole matter 
bring kept a profound secret. They had no teacher-, 
and they met at the gas-works sitting opposite the re- 
torts, on a bench supported at each end with bricks. 
They did not penetrate far into the mysteries of \Vel>h 
>horthand; they soon abandoned the attempt, and in- 
duced the village schoolmaster to open a night-school. 
" This, however, did not last long. The young Cris- 
pin was returning late one night from Llanrwst, in 
company with a lad of the same age, and both having 
heard much of the blessings of education from a Scotch 
lady who took a kindly interest in them, their ambition 
was inflamed, and they entered into a solemn compact 
that they would thenceforward devote themselves body 
and soul to the attainment of an academical degree. 
Yet they were both poor. One was but a shoemaker's 
apprentice, while the other was a pupil teacher, earn- 
ing but a miserable weekly pittance. One could do 
the parts of speech ; the other could not. One had 
struggled with the >. pans asinomm ; the other had nev- 
er seen it. I may mention that the young pupil teach- 
er is now a curate in the Church of England. He is a 


graduate of Cambridge University, and a prizeman of 
Clare College. But to return to the little shoemaker. 
"After returning home from Llanrwst he disbur- 
dened his heart to his mother, and told her that shoe- 
making, which until noAV he had pursued with extraor- 
dinary zest, could no longer interest him. His mother, 
who was equal to the emergency, sent the boy to a 
teacher of the old school, who had himself worked his 
way from the plough. After the exercise of consider- 
able diplomacy, an arrangement was arrived at where- 
by the youth was to go to school on Mondays, Wednes- 
days, and Fridays, and make shoes during the remaining 
days of the week. This suited him admirably. That 
very night he seized upon a geography, and began to 

An Extraordinary Ambition. 367 

learn the counties of England and Wales. The fear 


of failure never left him for two hours together, ex- 
cept when he slept. The plan of work was faithfully 
kept, though by this time shoemaking had lost its 
charms. He shortened his sleeping hours, and rose at 
any moment that he awoke at two, three, or four in 
the morning. He got his brother, who had been plod- 
ding with him over shorthand, to study horticulture 
and fruit and vegetable culture ; and that brother 
shortly after took a high place in an examination held 
by the Royal Horticultural Society. For a time, how- 
ever, they worked together; and often did their moth- 
er get up at four o'clock in the depth of winter, light 
their fire, and return to bed after calling them up to 
the work of self-culture. Even this did not satisfy 
their devouring ambition. There was a bed in the 


workshop, and they obtained permission to sleep there. 
Then they followed their own plans. The young gar- 
dener would sit up till one or two in the morning, and 
wake his brother, who had gone to bed as soon as he 
had given up work the night before. Now he got up 
and studied through the small hours of the morning 
until the time came when he had to transfer his indus- 
try to shoemaking, or go to school on the appointed 
days after the distant eight o'clock had come. His 
brother had got worn out. Early sleep seemed to be 
the best. They then both went to bed about eight 
o'clock, and got the policeman to call them up before 
retiring himself. 


" So the struggle went on, until the faithful old 
schoolmaster thought that his young pupil might try 
the examination at the Bangor Normal College. He 
was now eighteen years of age; and it was eighteen 
months since the time when he began to learn the 
counties of England and Wales. He went to Bangor, 
rigged out in his brother's coat and waistcoat, which 

30 s Astronomers and 

Were better than liis own, ami with his Id-other's watch 
in his pocket, to time hiniscll' in his rMimiiialion-. I Ie 
went through his examination, but returned home 
thinking he had failed. Nevertheless, he had, in the 
meantime, on tin- strength of a certificate which he 
had obtained six months before, in an examination 
held by the Society of Arts and Sciences in Liverpool, 
applied for a situation as teacher in a grammar-school 
at Ormskirk, in Lancashire. He succeeded in his ap- 
plication, and had been there for only eight days when 
he received a letter from Mr. Rowlands, Principal of 
the Bangor Normal College, informing him that he 
had passed at the head of the list, and was the highest 
non-pupil teacher examined by the British and Foreign 
Society. Having obtained permission from his master 
to leave, he packed his clothes and his few books. He 
had not enough money to carry him home; but, un- 
asked, the master of the school gave him 105. He ar- 
rived home about three o'clock on a Sunday morning, 
after a walk of eleven miles over a lonely road from 
the place where the train had stopped. He reeled on 
the way, and found the country reeling too. He had 
been sleeping eight nights in a damp bed. Six weeks 
of the Bangor Session passed, and during that time he 
had been delirious, and was too w^eak to sit up in bed. 
But the second time he crossed the threshold of his 
home he made for Bangor, and got back his ' position,' 
which was all-important to him, and kept it all through. 
"Having finished his course at Bangor he went to 

o o 

keep a school at Brynaman; he endeavored to study 
but could not. After two years he gave up the school, 
and with 60 saved he faced the world once more. 
There was a scholarship of the value of 40 a year, for 
three years, attached to one of the Scotch Universities, 
to be competed for. He knew the Latin Grammar, and 
had, with help, translated one of the books of Caesar. 

Obtaining a Bursary. 369 

Of Greek he knew nothing, save the letters and the 
first declension of nouns; but in May he began to read 
in earnest at a farmhouse. He worked every day from 
6 A.M. to 12 r.M. with only an hour's intermission. He 
studied the six Latin and two Greek books prescribed; 
he did some Latin composition unaided; brushed up 
his mathematics, and learned something of the history 
of Greece and Rome. In October, after five months 
of hard work, he underwent an examination for the 
scholarship, and obtained it; beating his opponent by 
twenty-eight marks in a thousand. He then went up 
to the Scotch University, and passed all the examina- 
tions for his ordinary M.A. degree in two years and a 
half. On his first arrival at the university he found 
that he could not sleep; but he wearily, yet victoriously, 
plodded on; took a prize in Greek, then the first prize 
in philosophy, the second prize in logic, the medal in 
English literature, and a few other prizes. 

"He had 40 when he first arrived in Scotland; and 
he carried away with him a similar sum to Germany, 
whither he went to study for honors in philosophy. 
He returned home with little in his pocket, borrowing 
money to go to Scotland, where he sat for honors and 
for the scholarship. He got his first honors, and what 
was more important at the time, money to go on with. 
He now lives on the scholarship which he took at that 
time; is an assistant professor; and, in a fortnight, will 
begin a course of lectures for ladies in connection with 
his university. Writing to me a few days ago,* he 
says, ' My health, broken down with my last struggle, 
is quite restored, and I live with the hope of working 
on. Many have worked more constantly, but few have 
worked more intensely. I found kindness on every 
hand always, but had I failed in a single instance I 

* This evidence was given by Mr. W. Cadwalladr Davies on the 
28th of October, 1880. 


stronomers and Students* 

should have met with entire bankruptcy. The failure 
would have been ruinous. ... I thank God for the 
struggle, but would not like to see a dog try it again. 
There are droves of lads in Wales that would creep up, 
but they cannot. Poverty lias too heavy a hand for 

The gentleman whose brief history is thus summarily 
given by Mr. Davies is now well known as a professor 
of philosophy; and, if his health be spared, he will be- 
come still better known. lie is the author of several 
important works on "Moral Philosophy," published by 
a leading London firm; and more works are announced 
from his pen. The victorious struggle for knowledge 
which we have recounted might possibly be equalled, 
but it could not possibly be surpassed. 

There are, however, as Mr. Davies related to the 
Parliamentary Committee, many instances of Welsh 
students most of them originally quarrymen, who 
keep themselves at school by means of the savings ef- 
fected from manual labor, " in frequent cases eked out 
and helped by the kindness of friends and neighbors " 
who struggle up through many difficulties, and eventu- 
ally achieve success in the best sense of the term. 


"One young man" as the teacher of a grammar- 
school, within two miles of Bangor, related to Mr. Da- 
vies "who came to me from the quarry some time 
ago, was a gold-medallist at Edinburgh last winter;" 
and contributions are readily made by the quarrymen 
to help forward any young man who displays an ear- 
nest desire for knowledge in science and literature. 


It is a remarkable fact that the quarrymen of Car- 
narvonshire have voluntarily contributed large sums 
of money towards the establishment of the University 
College in Xorth Wales the quarry districts in that 
county having contributed to that fund, in the course 
of three years, mostly in half-crown subscriptions, not 

The North Welsh College. 371 

less than 508 4s. 4cl. "a fact," says Mr. Davies, 
" without its parallel in the history of the education of 
any country;" the most striking feature being, that 
these collections were made in support of an institution 
from which the quarrymen could only very remotely 
derive any benefit. 

While I was at Bangor, on the 24th of August, 1883, 
the news arrived that the Committee of Selection had 
determined that Bangor should be the site for the in- 
tended North Wales University College. The news 
rapidly spread, and great rejoicings prevailed through- 
out the borough, which had just been incorporated. 
The volunteer band played through the streets, the 
church bells rang merry peals, and gay flags w r ere dis- 
played from nearly every window. There never was 
such a triumphant display before in the cause of uni- 
versity education. 

As Mr. Cadwalladr Davies observed at the banquet, 
w^hich took place on the following day: "The estab- 
lishment of the new institution will mark the dawn of 
a new era in the history of the Welsh people. He 
looked to it, not only as a means of imparting academi- 
cal knowledge to the students within its walls, but also 
as a means of raisins: the intellectual and moral tone 


of the whole people. They were fond of quoting the 
saying of a great English writer, that there was some- 
thing Grecian in the Celtic race, and that the Celtic 
was the refining element in the British character; but 
such remarks, often accompanied as they were with 
offensive comparisons from Eisteddfod platforms, 
would in future be put to the test, for they would, with 
their new educational machinery, be placed on a foot- 
ing of perfect equality with the Scotch and the Irish 

And here must come to an end the character history 
of my autumn tour in Ireland, Scotland, Yorkshire, and 

372 A*t/'cnn'rt/i> /-x and /Students. 

Wales. Iliad not tin- remotest intention when 
out of collecting information and writing down my 
ivci .licet ions of the journey. I Jut the persons I met, 
and the information I received, were of no small inter- 
at least to myself; and I trust that the reader will 
derive as much pleasure from perusing my ol.M-rva- 
tions as I have had in collecting and writing them 
down. I do think that the remarkable persons whose 
history and characters I have endeavored, however 
briefly, to sketch, will be found to afford many valua- 

* 7 / 

ble and important lessons of Self-Help, and to illus- 
trate how the moral and industrial foundations of a 
country may be built up and established. 


Aberdeen, fishing round county of, 
260 (note). 

Achromatic telescopes, 336, 338, 353. 

Adventure, English maritime, 13. 

Aerated waters, Belfast, 279. 

Agriculture, in Scotland, 120 ; in Ire- 
land, 256. 

Algerine pirates in English Channel, 

America, steamers to, 3, 64, 307-312. 

Amsterdam, greatness of, founded on 
herring-bones, 268. 

Antwerp, prosperity of, 11. 

Applegarth's inventions in newspa- 
per printing, 175, 192, 194, 209. 

Archimedes' propeller, 4, 67. 

Armada, Spanish, 18 ; defeat of, 20. 

Arts, modernness of, 1. 

Astronomers and students, 319-322, 
331, 342, 355-372. 

Astronomy, uses of practical, 73. 

Asylum, England an, 12. 

Atmospheric railway, Murdock and, 

Autobiographies, of Pett, 26 ; of E. J. 
Harland, 284; of J. Robertson, 322 ; 
of T. Cooke, 333 ; of S. Lancaster, 
342 ; of J. Jones, 357 ; of a Welsh 
student, 366. 

Bacon and Donkiu's printing-ma- 
chine, 192. 

Bainbridge, Yorkshire, 342. 

Ballingall, W., weaver and astrono- 
mer, 320. 

Bandon, its former manufactures, 259. 

Bangor, Wales, 356, 367, 371. 

Banks, Sir J., and steam navigation, 
2; and Dr. Priestly, 101. 

Barclay, Sheriff, 321, 331. 

Bartholomew. Massacre of St., 12, 16. 

Bauer, A. F., Koenig's partner, 159, 
161, 165, 176-178. 

Belfast, industry of, 270 ; activity of 
people of, 272; rise of, 274, 275; 
shipping of, 275 ; ship-building of, 
275 ; linen trade of, 276 ; various 
industries of, 277 ; improvement of 
port of, 278, 279 ; variety of occu- 
pations of, 279, 280 ; savings of 
working people, 282 ; Harbor Trust 
of, 283 ; Ropework Company of, 

Bell and steam navigation, 3, 56. 

Bellow mill, 121. 

Bensley, printer, and Koenig, 157, 

Bianconi, Charles, birth and educa- 
tion, 218 ; .leaves Italy for Ireland, 
220 ; print-seller, 220 ; begins busi- 
ness, 222 ; gilder and carver, 223 ; 
and Edward Rice. 223 ; settles at 
Clonmel, 224; his wild oats, 225, 
226 ; starts an Irish car, 228 ; the 
opposition car, 229 ; builds cars, 
231 ; Waterford election, 232; his 
marriage, 233; his portrait, 233; 
his cars extended over Ireland, 
234-236; carry the mails, 236; 
competitors, 238; his principles, 
238 ; his work - people, 239, 240 ; 
Sunda)' traffic, 241 ; interview with 
Capt. T. Drummond, 242 ; the rail- 
ways, 242; a magistrate, 246; Bi- 
anconi and O'Connell. 233, 247; 
last interview with, 248; death, 

Bibby, Messrs., Liverpool, 300-308. 

Bilingual difnYully in Wales. 


Black-band in>n>toiir. 123. 
Blairgowric . I unction. 322. 
I'.nanl of Longitude-. 7.'.. x2. '.to. 03, 90, 

I'M). 101,104. 

Bnhi rlalian, Tipperary, 21'.'. 
- P,,.uy" in Ireland, .'1. 225. 
Books, first printed by machine, 100- 

lt',2. 171; printed !y steam, 200; 

W. Clowes and steam -printing, 

Boulton. M.. and steamboats. 57 ; and 

Dr. Roebuck, 121; and Murdock, 

at Solio, 125. 

Brahe. Tycho, and astronomical in- 
struments, 83, 84. 
Bramah, J., projector of screw, 57. 
Bridge, Samuel. 31-"). 
Bristol, Cabot J., of, 13. 
British mercantile steamships, 4. 24 

(note), 52. 

Brunei, I. K., and Great Britain. OS. 
Brunei, M. I., and printing-press, 107, 

Buckingham Street works, York. 333, 

330, 342. 

Building societies, Belfast, 282. 
Burns and Murdock, 122. 
Burn?, Messrs., Glasgow, 313. 
Burroughs, Capt., 14, 21. 

Cadiz, naval attack on, 21, 30. 
Cahir and Clonmel, 229. 
Calico-printing machine, 101, 198. 
Capital and security. 258. 
Capron, Rand, Guildown, 320. 
Car-drivers in Ireland. 231 ; Bianco- 

ni's, 239. 

Carneddi schools, Wales, 304. 
Carrick-on-Suir, Bianconi at, 223. 
Cars, Irish, Bianconi and, 223, 227, 

234-237, 245. 

Cathay, voyage to, 14, 22. 
Cavendish, Capt., 17. 
Cayley, Sir G., 285. 
Chambers, publishers, 211. 
Chance, Messrs., glass disks, 340. 
Chancellor, Capt., 15. 
Chinese, and silk manufacture, 100. 

Christian P.mthrrs, Ireland. 221. 25n 
Christie, Mr M Astronomer-Royal, in.; 

Chronometer, marine, and J. Harri 

MID, 73-10.;. 

Claddagh, Galwny. 2fl. L';:;. 2;i. 

Clark, Alvan. :;:!'.i, lill (note). 

ClcU^. S., and gas-lighting. 141. 

Clonmel, P.ianconi at. _"_'] 221;, 229. 

Clowes, William, birth and educa- 
tion, 207 ; begins business in Lon- 
don, 20.S: removes to Northumber- 
land Court, 208; action by Duke 
of Northumberland. 2<''.i; London 
publishers, 210; Duke Street, 
Southwark, 210; prints for the 
S. i.-iety of Useful Knowledge. 21 1 ; 
promotes Parker, publisher, 213; 
great printing establishment, 214 ; 
composing-machine, 215; charac- 
ter, 21 5. 

Clyde ship-building, 294, 290, 308. 

Cockenzie, fishermen of, 201. 

Colnaghi and Bianconi, 219. 

Colonization, spread of, 21. 

Columbus and America, 14. 

Combe, Barbour, and Combe, 280. 

Comets, hunting for, 328. 

Commerce, beginning of English. 5, 

Como, Italians from, 218, 219. 

Compensation pendulum, Harrison 
and, 80, 88. 

Composing-machines, 215. 

Connemara, Ireland, 253. 

Conscription in Italy, 219. 

Constable, Edinburgh, and popular 
books, 200, 210. 

Constant Warwick, first frigate, 48. 

Contract to fight foreigners, 7. 

Cook, Capt., and Harrison's chro- 
nometer, 101. 

Cooke, J., York, telescope -maker, 
331; his difficulties, 332 ; prog- 
ress, 333 ; autobiography, by his 
widow, 333-330; revives achro- 
matic telescope-making, 330 ; his 
object-glass for Mr. Newall, 340; 
death, 341. 

Copeland. Dr., Dunecht, 320, 329. 



Copley (Lord Lyndhurst) and "NY". 
Clowes, 210. 

Cork Exhibition, Mr. Parnell's speech 
at, 255. 

Cornish adventurers, Watt and Mur- 
dock with, 127, 129. 

Cornish fishermen, 2G1, 265, 2G7. 

Corporation ground, Belfast. 275, 

Corry and Co., Belfast, 317. 

Corunna, 20. 

Country and town, 343. 

Coupar Angus astronomer, 321. 

Cowper, Edward, and steam-print- 
ing, 174 ; invention of curved 
stereo-plates, 192; improvements 
in printing, 206; evidence before 
House of Commons. 212. 

Crawford and Balcarres, Earl of, 326. 

Crawford, W. S., Crawfordsburn, 278. 

Croall, A., Stirling, 320. 

Crommelin, the Huguenot, in Ire- 
land, 271, 272, 276. 

Crotchet, silk weaver, Derby, 111. 

Cumberland, Earl of, and ship im- 
provement, 20. 

Cunard Co., the, 294, 306. 

Curaqoa, the steamer, 3. 

Customs, Board of, and Times, 180, 

Cylinder printing-machine, 161, 162, 


Dalswinton Lake, first steamer on, 3, 

Danes, the, and Irish fisheries, 262. 

Dargan, Wm., and Belfast, 278. 

Davies, Sir J., on Ulster, 274. 

Davies, Cadwalladr, on Welsh Stu- 
dents, 358, 363, 369; on Celtic 
character, 371. 

Davis, Capt. John, 22. 

Davy, Sir H., on gas-lighting, 139 ; 
on security fur capital, 258. 

Dawes, Rev. W. H., 339, 340. 

Dead reckoning, 85. 

Dean, engineer, raises Royal George 
and Mary Rose, 10. 

Denmark, King of, received in 
Thames, 34, 

Deptford dockyard, 7. 

Derby silk-mills, 111, 113, 115, 118. 

Derwent, silk-mill on, 113. 

Dick, Dr., lectures and works on as- 
tronomy, 323, 359. 

Docks and dockyards, 7, 23, 39, 275, 
279, 297. 

Dollond's refractor telescopes, 336. 

Donkin and Bacon's printing-ma- 
chine, 192. 

Donkin and Fourdrinier's paper- 
making machine, 198. 

Dovle, Dr., on Irish strikes, 259. 

Drake, Sir F., 16, 17, 19, 21. 

Drogheda and Belfast, 276. 

Drummond, Capt. T., and Bianconi, 
242, 243, 248. 

Dry ships, " Jack " on, 304. 

Dublin industry, 259; and intoxi- 
cating drinks, 259 (note). 

Dudley, Earl of Warwick, 15. 

Duncan, Edward, weaver, 320. 

Dunecht Observatory, 325, 328. 

Durforth, Capt., 14. " 

Dutch fisheries. 5 ; and English ship- 
ping, 7; workmen, 10; maritime 
enterprise, 21 ; and Irish and Eng- 
lish fisheries, 262, 267, 268. 

East India Company, beginning of, 
22; build the Trades Increase, 
25; employ iron shipping, 52. 

Edward III. and English navy, 5. 

Elder and Co., Glasgow, 308. * 

El-Dorado, 15. 

Electricity, discovery of uses of, 2 ; 
Dr. Harland and, 285. 

Elizabeth, Queen, her navy and sea- 
men, 10; asylum for foreigners, 
12; excommunicated, 12; mari- 
time adventurers, 14-16; colonies 
planted, 21 ; mercantile marine, 
23; silk stockings, 108. 

Ellis, Miss G.. 357. 

Engine, steam, discovery of, 2; silk 
throwing, 110, 112, 117 (note). 

Engineers, foreign and English, 5. 

England, modern, 1, 5, 12. 

English commerce and fisheries, 5, 7, 
9, 10, 13, 23, 24, 272-274. 


i. Capt., and screw prppt.-llrr. 
.': hi<!ory .-!'. <',_> <;.">. 
x. Marl .".f. -Jl. 

Bxeter shipping and pirates, 25(note). 

Mart ion-lights, Ireland, 221. 

Manmi and Bianeoni, 219, I'-J. 

MMi'-rirs, English and Scotch, 5, 
261, 207. 

FMii-ries. Irish, 2CO-2C7, 269, 270. 

Mi.-h skins, Murdock and, 15". 

Mlamstced, Astronoraer-Koyal, 73. 

Flanders, commerce of, 5. 7, 10; In- 
quisition established in, 11. 

Fletcher, of Saltoun, repealer of 
Union, 120. 

Foley and nail-making, 110. 

Folkes, President of Royal Society, 
and Harrison, 88.94. 

Foreign correspondence, Times and, 

Foreigners and English engineering, 
4,6,8, 10. 

Fourdrinier and paper-making ma- 
chine, 188. 

Frauenhofer, optician, 357. 

Frobisher, Capt., 15, 21. 

Fulton and steam navigation, 3, 55. 

Gabota. John, Bristol, 13. 

Galton, F., on Winsor, 140 (note). 

Galway. decay of, 254; fisheries of, 

Garay, Blasco, and paddle-boats, 53. 

Garfield, President, on labor, 254. 

Gas, Murdoch's discovery, for light- 
ing purposes. 134; Soho lit by, 
138; towns lit by, 141,142. 

Gascoigne. W., and telescope, 84. 

Ged, inventor of stereotyping, 195. 

Genoa, ships of, 6. 

( k-ntleman, Tobias, and English fish- 
eries, 268. 

Gilbert, Sir H., 21. 

<>'/-(ice de Dieit, the, 6. 

Graham, G., and Harrison, 80, 82, 90, 

Gray, Mr., York, 335, 338. 

Great Western, steamer, 3 ; Great 
Britain, 4, 68. 

Gr.-milli-, Sir 1,'.. -Jo. 

Grubb, optician, Dublin, 311 (note). 

Guinaud, optician, Munich, 337. 

Hall, S. C., and Bianconi, 239; and 
fish caught in Galway Bay. !';.;. 

Handprinting, 155, 162/1**, i'. )(| .2o5, 

Hanse Towns merchants, 6, ID. 

Harbor Trust, Belfast, 283, 306, 317. 

Harland, Dr.. Scarborough, 284. 

Ilarland & Wolff, Belfast, 277, 281. 

Harland, E. J., ship-builder, Belfast, 
works on Queen's Island. 277. 278; 
enterprise of Harland & Wolff, 
281; chairman of Harbor Trust, 
282 ; autobiography of, 284 ; edu- 
cation of, 286 ; apprenticed to 
Stephenson & Co., Newcastle, 
288; invents a model life-boat, 
289 ; a journeyman, 293 ; removes 
to the Clyde, 294; becomes head 
draughtsman, 295; manager of 
ship-building yard on the Tyne, 
295. 296 ; removes to Belfast, 297 ; 
owner of Queen's Island works, 
300; marriage, 300; partnership 
with G. W. Wolff, 301; build 
screw steamers for Bibby, Liver- 
pool, 301-307 ; lengthening and 
improvement of ships, 301-307; 
build^" White Star" liners, 307- 
313; raising of The Wolf from deep 
water, 313-315 ; large sailing ships 
of steel and iron, 316; on Irish 
prosperity, 318. 

Harrison. John, a born mechanic, 76 ; 
birth and education, 77; wooden 
clock, 78 ; carpenter and surveyor, 
79; compensation pendulum, 80; 
compensation clocks, 81; tried for 
purposes of navigation, 81; com- 
petes for the prize of 20,000,82; 
invents tools and makes his first 
chronometer, 89, 90 ; successful 
trial, 91 ; second and third chro- 
nometer, 92, 93; fourth time-piece, 
95; delays in granting reward, 
96; expostulation with Board of 
Longitude, 98; claims finally set- 



tied, 102; death and monument, 


Harry Grace de Dieii, 8. 
Hartwig's discovery of comet, 328. 
Harvard Observatory, U. S., 337. 
Hawkins. Capt., 16, 18, 21. 
Helena, St., taken, 23. 
Henry VIII. and royal navy, 6-8; 

dock-yards established by, 7. 
Henry, Prince, 32, 37. 
Herschel, Professor A. S., 329. 
Hickson & Co., Belfast, 281, 298- 


Hill, Sir Rowland, and printing-ma- 
chine, 198 (and note). 
Ilindostan, timber required for, 50. 
Hoe & Co., printing machines of. 

174, 194, 200. 
Holland, commerce of, 10; colonies 

of, 22 ; and discovery of longitude, 

73 ; fisheries of, 262J 268. 
Hooke, R., and telescope, 84. 
Howard, Lord High Admiral, 7, 21, 

26, 31, 37. 
Hudson's Bay, 15. 
Huguenots, Massacre of, 12, 16 ; and 

silk manufacturers, 109 ; and Irish 

industry, 271. 

Hulls, Jonathan, and steamboat, 54. 
Hutchinson, W., of Stephenson's 

works, 293. 
Hutchinson's steamers on Clyde, 

Hutton on silk manufacture, 111; 

on activity of Birmingham, 272. 

India. See East India Company. 

Industry, influence of, 105; in Ire- 
land,*252, 318. 

Invention, progress of, 1-4; of Eng- 
lish shipping, 23 ; Phineas Pett 
and, 33-44; of iron ships, 50-52; 
of steamboats, 53-56 ; of screw, 
56-70; of marine chronometer, 
72-104; of silk machine, 108; of 
locomotive, 130; of gas for light- 
ing purposes, 134; of steam print- 
ing-press, 157 ; of stereotyping, 
195; of Walter press, 200. 

Ireland, Bianconi in, 220-251 ; thrift 

in, 257, 281, 282 ; fisheries of, 260- 
267; ship-building of, 281-318. 

Irish manufactures, 255, 259, 275, 
276,281, 282.301-318. 

Iron ship-building, 50; first used by 
J.Wilkinson, 51 ; Sir W. Symonds 
on iron ships, 68 ; in Ireland, 277, 
281, 300-318. 

Ismay, T. H., Liverpool, 307, 310, 312, 
313, 317. 

Italian workmen in England, 6-8; 
and silk industry, 107, 109 ; cir- 
cular to Italians abroad, 217. 

Jackman, Capt., 21. 

James I. and royal navy, 24; and 
Phineas Pett, 32, 35, 37, 38 ; and 
silken hose, 109. 

Jaunting cars, Ireland, 229-231 ; Bi- 
anconi and, 220-251. 

Jervons. Liverpool, builds iron ves- 
sels, 51. 

Jones, Bradley, on Welsh students, 
364, 365. 

Jones, John, Bangor, slate-counter 
and astronomer, 356; early life, 
358; study of languages and as- 
tronomy, 360; makes a reflecting 
telescope, 361 ; his poetical exer- 
cises, 362, 363. 

Kendal,copy of Harrison's chronom- 
eter, 100-102. 

Knight, Charles. 207, 211, 212. 

Knowledge, increase of, 2. 

Koenig, Frederick, birth, 154; ap- 
prenticed to a printer, 154; ex- 
periments upon a printing-press, 
155; takes his invention to Eng- 
land, 156; agreement with Bens- 
ley, 157, 158 ; his various patents, 
159-162; first books printed by 
the printing machine. 160-162; 
taken up by Walter of the Times, 
164; first newspaper printed by 
steam, 166 ; testimony of the Times 
to Koenig's merits, 166-171 ; his- 
tory of the invention, 169, 170; 
Koenig's patents a failure, 171, 
172; leaves England, 172; settles 


/w A,/ 1 . 

at < iborzell, 170; his printing- 
machine otaMi.-hmcnt, 170. 177: 
death, 17S 

Lagan river. Belfast. -27.".. 

Lancaster, ('apt.. 1']. _':'.. 

Lancaster. Samuel Bainbridgo, liis 
early life, :;i.". ; memory and edu- 
cation. 314; learns photography, 
346; studies at art school, .'M7; 
chemi.-try, electricity, algebra, 
mathematics, 348 ; makes a re- 
flecting telescope. 300; meditates j 
an achromatic telescope. 353 ; pro- 
posed work. 354, 355 (note). 

Lardner. Dr.. and steam navigation, 

Lassell. Mr., equatorial telescope of, 
342, 356. 

Leading Article, invention of, 183. 

Levelling up a country. 259. 

Lick Observatory, California, 341 

Life-boat, Harland's model, 289. 

Limerick, BianconTs cars and, 234 ; 
gloves, 259. 

Linen industry, Ireland, 271, 276. 

Lisburn, Ireland, 271. 

Literary Gazette, printed by Koe- 
nig's printing-press, 171, 173. 

Liverpool shipping in 1565, 24. 

Lloyd's Weekly Xm-tpiifier printed 
by Hoe's machine, 194. 

Loans, perniciousness of, 267. 

Lockyer, Mr., on Cooke's work, 337, 

Locomotive, use of, 2; Murdock's 
model of, 131. 

Log, at sea, 85. 

Logographic printing of Times, 181. 

Lombardy and silk manufacture, 

Lombe, John, and silk industry, 105; 
Lombes of Norwich. 110; silk- 
weaving at Derby, 111; discov- 
ery of silk-throwing. 112; starts 
silk-mill at Derby, 113; supposed 
poisoning and funeral, 114. 

Lombe, Sir Thomas, his origin, 110; 
goes to London, 111; assists his 

half brother, 112; constructs the 
I>er!>y silk - mill. 11.".; vote of 
n 1,000 by Parliament, 119; death 

and issue. 1 IS (in : 
L"iid<>n, bridge. !: corporation of, 

and piracy. _'*. '_".' (no 
Longitude at Ma. 7:; ln-j. 
Longitude, Board of, 74, 82, 90, 93, 96, 

mo. mi. 

Longfield estate, Tippcrary, 246. 
Lowestoft fishermen and Cork Ex- 
hibition, 260. 
Lunar tables, 82. 85. 
Lurgan, Ireland, 271, 274. 
Lyndhurst. Lord (Mr. Copley), 210. 

Macilwaine it Lewis, Belfast, 282. 
Machine for silk - throwing, 110 

(note), 112. 

Mails, Bianconi and Irish, 237. 
Manby. builds an iron vessel, 51 ; on 

Murdock, 143. 
Manufactures in Ireland, 255, 259, 


Manx fishermen, 261, 267. 
Marine chronometer, John Harrison 

and, 73-102. 
Maritime adventure, English and, 

13, 14, 18. 
Martyn, T.. and printing-press, 164, 


Mary Rose sunk and raised, 9, 10. 
Maudsley, II. (and Field), 52, 56. 
Mayer. II., on Bianconi, 251. 
Mechanics, born, 76. 
Mediterranean trade, 300, 304. 
Menabrca, Count, circular to Italian 

consuls, 217. 
Mercantile shipping, 5, 9, 10, 11, 22, 

23, 25. 

Merz and Mahler, opticians, 337. 
Meteors, J. Robertson on, 328. 
Mill, J. S., his " Logic," 214. 
Miller of Dalswinton, and steam- 
boat, 53, 55. 
Mills, at Galway. 254; at Belfast, 


Mineral wealth of Ireland, 260. 
.Missouri Republican and Walter 

press, 203. 



Modernness of civilization, 1 ; of 
England, 4; of English fishery 
and commerce, 5, 267-270. 

Money, Bianconi on genius of, 251. 

Morning Chronicle, Perry of, 164. 

Morrissey's boat, Carrick and Water- 
ford, 223, 231. 

Murdock, William, birth, 121 ; rela- 
tives, 122; Burns's teacher, 122 ; 
Bellow mill, 123 ; mechanical 
horse, 124 ; general workman, 124 ; 
interview with Bolton, 125; em- 
ployed at Soho, 126 ; life in Corn- 
wall, 127; invents "sun and plan- 
et " motion, 129 ; makes a model 
locomotive, 131 ; marriage, 133 ; 
invention of gas-lighting, 134; 
other inventions, 137; his sons, 
137; gold medal awarded by Royal 
Society, 139; partnership with 
Boulton & Watt, 142; Nasmyth 
on Murdoch's "masterly touch," 
143 ; his co-working and corre- 
spondence with Watt, 144, 145 ; 
Murdoch's patents, 149; on stor- 
age of power, 150 ; adaptation of 
steam to navigation, 151; death, 

Napier, Sir C., and first iron steam- 
boat, 52. 

Nasmyth, J., on Murdoch's inven- 
tions, 142, 143; on Cooke's tele- 
scopes, 331, 338. 

Navigation, science of, 72. 

Navigation, steam, 2, 4, 51, 53, 56-69, 
275, 276, 280, 287-318. 

Navy, beginning of British, 5, 7, 8, 
10, 15, 16, 19, 23, 52. 

Netherlands, commerce of, 11; per- 
secutions in, 11, 16. 

Newall, Mr., his Gateshead telescope, 
337, 340. 

Newfoundland planted, 21. 

Newton, Sir I., on short date of civ- 
ilization, 1 ; on discovery of longi- 
tude at sea, 74 ; his reflecting 
quadrant, 84. 

New York Times on Walter Press, 

Nicholson, W., patent for printing 
machine, 161,174,191,198. 

Nobility, trades compatible with, 
108, 271, 272. 

Northampton, Earl of, 37, 38. 

Northumberland, Duke of, v. Clowes, 
209 ; and prize life-boat, 290. 

Northwest passage, attempts to dis- 
cover, 14, 15, 22, 24. 

Nunn, Thomas, disreputable minis- 
ter, 27. 

Oberzell, Koenig's manufactory at, 

Oceanic, the, 309. 

O'Connell and repeal, 120 ; and Bian- 
coni, 233, 247 ; on Irish strikes, 259. 

Ogden, F. B., and screw steamers, 63. 

Onions & Son, and iron vessels, 51. 

Organzine silk, 109. 

Paddle boats, first used, 53, 55; su- 
perseded by screw, 3, 56, 60-70. 

Papin, Dr. Dennis, and steamboats, 

Paper-making machine, invention of, 
198 ; at Oberzell, 178. 

Parker, J., publisher, 213. 

Parma. Duchess of, and Flemish per- 
secutions, 11. 

Parnell, Mr., speech at Cork Exhibi- 
tion, 255. 

Patent laws, England, 156, 171. 

Pendulum compensation, 80, 88. 

Penny Magazine, 211, 212; Cyclopae- 
dia, 212. 

Perrie, W. J., Belfast, 308. 

Perry, Mr., Morning Chronicle, 164. 

Persecutions, foreign religious, 11, 12, 
16, 271. 

Pett, Capt., 21, 26. 

Pett, Sir Peter, 45, 48. 

Pett, Phineas, his ancestry, 26 ; edu- 
cation, 26, 27; bred a ship-build- 
er, 27 ; goes to sea, 28 ; journey- 
man at Deptford, 30 ; self-improve- 
ment, 30; promotion. 31; builds a 
miniature vessel for Prince Henry, 
32 ; builds the Resistance, and goes 
to sea, 33 ; master ship-builder at 


Chatham. i^ns the /'///<- 

Ji'"i/nl. :'! : malicious proceeding 
ain-t. :;.". : con-triielioii of I lie 
J'i ilia ' L'lii/til. .'!'''. II: builds >hips 
I'.T Sir \\'. Raleigh. 11 . pini; 
to chati.-e pir.; : VOyBgC ! 

Spain. -11: builds 77/r ,s'.//v 
o/'///.- >'/.--. !.": death of, 17. 

Philip II. of Spain. 11, 16. 

Phillips. Professor, York, 332, 335. 

Piedmont, silk manufacture in. 112. 

Piracy, early. 5. '., 25. 28.31, 32,43. 

Planting of new colonies, 21,21. 

Poets and writers in Elizabeth's 
reign, 1.".. 

Popenruyter, the Flemish gun- 
founder, 7. 

Population in England, Elizabeth's 
reign, 10; in Scotland, 120. 

Portsmouth dockyard. 7. 

Post-office, in Ireland, 23G; Bianconi 
and mails, 237, 240. 

Preston, Sir Amias, 21. 

Priestly. Dr.. and Board of Longi- 
tude* 101. 

Prince, the. built by Pett. 26; Prince 
Royal, 34-41. 

Printinc 1 . by hand, 153, 155, 162, 163, 
191, 193," 205. 

Printing machine, invention of. 15.'5: 
Koenig's first attempts. 155: agree- 
ment with Bensley. 157. 158 ; man- 
ufactured by Koenig & Bauer, 
150, 1GG; Nicholson's patent, 161, 
174, 191 ; improvements by Co\v- 
per & Applegarth, 192; the Wal- 
ter Press. 200-204. 

Pritchard, Professor, Oxford,339,341. 

Privateering at sea. 5, 24. 

Propelling ships, first attempts, 52. 

Pryme's "Autobiographic Recollec- 
tions," 186. 

Queen Elizabeth and English navy. 

Queen's Island, Belfast, 276, 278, 281, 

297. 306. 

Railway, invention of. 2; in Ireland, 
and Bianconi, 242. 244. 

Ral'-igh, Sir W., 21 ; ami piracy, 28; 

and Pliinca- IVtt. 11. 
Hult/n; the screw ship, i!9. 
liavcns I hr three. 35. 

IN-poal <>r Qnion, 120,228, 

Jit --i-l.. I. .supposed inventor of screw, 

llcward- oflVre<l fur discovery of lon- 
gitude at s< -i. 7.; 7.".. 

Rice, Ed., Bianconi and. 224, 250. 

Riches of Ireland. 257. 

Ilitchio. \V., Belfast, 275. 

lioads, in Britain, 4; in Ireland, 227, 

Robertson.. John,Coupar Angus. 321- 

Robinson. ll.Crabb. and Times, 186. 

Roebuck. Dr.. and steam-engine, l'_'l. 

Rolls of paper used for machine- 
printing, 200. 

Ropework Company. Belfast, 283. 

R"l/alGeorgers\?,Q(\ at Portsmouth, 10. 

Royal navy, beginnings of, 6-8, 10, 
i6, 19,23,25. 

Royal Society and Harrison, 88, 90, 
93, 94; and Murdock, 139, 142, 

Sailing ships, 5-48; advantages of, 
compared with steam, 317. 

Sailors in Elizabeth's reign, 13,19-21. 

Saint Bartholomew, massacre of, 12, 

Salmon in Ireland, 254. 

Sardinia, king of. and Harrison, 98; 
and silk industry, 110, 114. 

Saturday J/<^/a~/Hf, Parker pub- 
lisher of, 214. 

Sanderson, Professor, lectures, 79. 

Savannah, steamer. 3. 

Savings banks in Ireland, 257; in 
Belfast. 282. 

Scarborough, Dr. Ilarland and. 284. 

Scenery, Irish, 252. 

Schwabe, G. C., 300. 

Science, progress of physical, 2. 

Scotland, poverty of, 119; progress 
of, 120. 121 ; and mechanics, 126 ; 
fishermen of, 261, 262, 265. 

Scott, Sir W.. and gas-lighting, 139. 



Screw propeller, inventors of, 56-71 ; 
supersedes paddles, 4, 56. 

Sculpture -making machine, Watt 
and, 14-1. 

Seamen, great, of England, 13, 19, 21. 

Security of capital, necessity of, 258. 

Sextant, the, and navigation, 83. 

Ships, early English, 9, 14, 17, 22, 23. 

Ship-building, beginning of, 1, 6; 
foreigners and, 7 ; English, 9 ; in 
Elizabeth's time, II, 22; on the 
Thames, 9, 23; of Liverpool, 24; 
Petts of the Thames, 26; Phineas 
Pett and, 34; the Prince Royal, 
39; Sovereign of the Seas, 45; 
Constant Warwick, 48; in iron, 
50, 68. 

Shipping of England, 4, 6, 11, 52 ; of 
Spain, 11 ; of Holland, 11, 268. 

Ship propeller company, 66, 69. 

Silk manufacture, 106; industry, 108, 
118; throwing machine, 110, 112. 
116 (note). 

Sirius, the first American steamer, 3. 

Smith, Francis Pettit, birth, 59 ; ed- 
ucation and amusements, 59, 60; 
invents a screw propeller, 60; a 
model made, 60 ; the trial success- 
ful. 61, 62; the Archimedes con- 
structed, 66 ; the Great Britain, 
68; the Rattler, 68; the screw 
propeller adopted, 69; Smith's re- 
ward, 70. 

" Society for Diffusion of Useful 
Knowledge," 207, 211. 

Soho, Murdock at, 124, 136, 142, 148, 

Sovereign of the Seas, 45^17. 

Spain, iron from, 10 ; naval and com- 
mercial power of, 11; armada of, 
18-20; reward (for longitude) of- 
fered, 73 : and Irish fisheries, 262. 

Spencer's patent, 294, 303. 

Spitzbergen, adventurers to, 14. 

Spots on the sun, 326. 

Stanhope, Earl, stereotyping, 155, 
196; his printing-press, 163, 176, 
190, 206. 

State papers and foreign mechanics, 6. 

Steamboat, invention of, 2, 53. 

Steam-carriage, Dr. Harland's, 285. 
Steam-engine, discovery of, 2, 4; and 

Dr. Roebuck, 121 ; uses of, 128. 
Steam navigation, 2, 3, 4, 53, 56, 68, 


Steel used in ship-building, 50, 317, 
Stephenson, Robert, on merits of F. 

P. Smith, 70, 71 ; and E. J. Har, 

land, 286 ; works, Newcastle, 288, 

Stereotyping, invention of, 195; of 

newspapers, 195, 196. 
Stockton in time of Charles I., 46. 
Stockton, R. F., 64. 
Storage of pOAver, Murdock on, 150. 
Strafford, Lord, in Ireland, 271. 
Strikes of Times 1 pressmen, 188; in 

Ireland, 259 ; in ship-building yard, 

Belfast, 298. 

Struve, Russian astronomer, 337. 
Sun, spots on, 326. 
" Sun and planet" motion, 129. 
Swan, J., alleged inventor of screw, 


Sunday traffic, Bianconi on. 241. 
Sweden and Irish fisheries, 262. 
Switzerland and industry, 259, 260. 
Symington and steam navigation, 3, 

53, 55. 
Symonds, Sir "W., on Pett's ships, 46, 

48 ; on screw steamers, 64, 67 ; on 

iron ships, 68. 

Taylor, printer, London, 157, 164 
(note), 170-173. 

Teape, job-printer, 207. 

Telescopes, J. Robertson's, 325 ; T. 
Cooke's, 331-342 ; S. Lancaster's, 
350; J. Jones's, 360, 361. 

Thames, ship-building on the, 9,24; 
steamers on the, 56. 

Theatrical puffs, Times on, 184. 

Thermometer kirb, Harrison's, 87. 

Thomsons, marine engineers, Glas- 
gow, 294-296, 300. 

Thrift in Ireland, 257, 276, 277. 

Thrown silk, 109. 

Timber and ship-building, 50. 

Tilloch & Foulis, printers, 196. 

Times, the, first printed by steam, 


ir,.~> 17<>; founding of. 1H1 ; man- 
ini'iit dl'. 1*1 I'.'l; improved 

Mrrei.typing <if. r.Tt, it>7: Walter 
Tress of, 198-204. 

Tippcrary. car-travelling in. 232. 

Tng.'K liianconi and, 218-220. 

Toward'* ship-building yard, Tynr. 
I".'.'.. _'%. 2! it i. r-no. 

Town and country. ">!.">. 

Travelling in Ireland. 'I'll. _':'>'. 

Trawling io Galway Hay, 263,264. 

Trevcthick, inventor of screw, 59. 

Tudors and modern England, 5. 

Tycho Brahe and astronomical in- 
struments, 84. 

Type-casting by W. Clowes, 214. 

Useful Knowledge. Society for Dif- 
fusion of, 207, 211. 

Venetian?, ships of, 6-8; workmen, 

10; silk manufacture, 108. 
Victoria Channel. Belfast, 278. 
Vigo, sack of, 20. 
Virginia planted, 21. 
Volere e Potere, 218. 

Wales, energetic students of, 364, 
365: North Wales College, 371. 

Walter, John (I.), printer and pub- 
lisher, 180; founds the Time. 1 !, 
181 ; makes over the management 
to his son, 182; loses the govern- 
ment printing, 183 ; opposed by 
the new management, 184. 

Walter, John (II.), interviews with 
Bensley, 158; takes up Koenig's 
invention, 165 ; prints the h'rst 
newspaper by steam. 166; an- 
nouncements in the Times, 166- 
170; becomes editor of Times, 
182; invents the Leading Article. 
183; devises foreign correspond- 
ents, 185; contest with post-office. 
187; the pressmen on strike, 18$-; 
adopts Koenig's steam printiijgt 
press, 192; energy and character. 
193. ".4* 

Walter, John (jfIL.y, continues im- 
provements hi printing-press. 1 

1 !'."'. I' 1 *; promotes stereotyping, 
Tin;. ]'.<7; the Walter 1're-.' i 

Walter Press, description of, 200- 

Ward, M., and Co., Belfast, 277, 

Watches in Newton's time, 74. 

Watcrford, Bianconi and, 221, 223, 

Watcrfurd election, Bianconi and, 

Watt, James, discovery of condens- 
ing steam-engine, 2; steam-en- 
gine and steamboat. 54 ; and the 
screw, 56,57; and Boulton, 121 ; 
and Murdock, 127. l.'Jl. 132, 143- 

Way-bills. Bianconi's, 250. 

Weallans, W., Stephenson's works, 

WcefJy JJitpalch printed by Koenig's 
machine, 171. 

Welsh students, 364-372. 

Whiteboys and Bianconi, 236, 241. 

Wicksteed, Kev. C., 356. 

Wilkinson, J., first uses iron in ship- 
building, 51. 

Willoughby. Sir Hugh, 14. 

Wilson, R., supposed inventor of 
screw, 58. 

Wilson. W. A., Belfast, 308. 

Winchester & Clowes, 208. 

Winsor and gas-lighting, 139. 

Wolff, ( J. W.. 300 ; partner with Har- 
land. 281, 301: chairman of Bel- 
fast Kopework Co., 283. 

Wollaston and gas-lighting, 139. 

Woodcroft, B., and printing-machine, 

Wooden walls, 52. 

Wool, staple of England, 5. 

Woolwich dockyard, 7. 

Workman & Clarke, Belfast, 282. 

Wren, Sir C., and longitude, 75. 

; Yj5^ebridge>gram mar-school, 343. 
York Street Spinning-mills, Belfast, 


^s. \\ 

4 .-/ i 

'Ireland, 252. 





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